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HH lauds Govt relief measures

By SILUMESI MALUMO
HAKAINDE Hichilema has applauded Government for its decision to offer economic relief measure in the wake of the ravaging COVID-19.
The UPND leader said Government did well to waive tax penalties and interests on tax liabilities and releasing K10 billion medium-term refinancing facility, which commercial banks could access to assist with restructuring, refinancing or extending credit to businesses.
Mr Hichilema said his party was pleased with the measures put in place through the Ministry of Finance to ensure sustainable economic development.
“We note with appreciation the measures that the Minister of Finance (Bwalya Ng’andu) announced in his address on the further measures aimed at mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 on the Zambian economy.
“It was gratifying that the minister talked about waiver of tax penalties and interests, easing liquidity by tapping into the Bank of Zambia’s K10 billion medium-term refinancing facility, which commercial banks can access,” he said.
Mr Hichilema also proposed that the Government should put in place the appropriate macroeconomic frameworks that would lead to concluding the International Monitory Fund (IMF) programme.
He said yesterday Government needed to consider fiscal consolidation seriously in order to develop an appropriate macroeconomic framework that could lead to an economic programme with the IMF.
A type of fiscal consolidation, he said, that would reduce net borrowing from the highs of 6.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that was planned in 2020 budget to less than 2 percent of GDP in the short to medium term.
Mr Hichilema said this would reduce public expenditure as a share of GDP to no more than 23 percent, ultimately increasing domestic revenues to about 22 percent of GDP from the current 18 -19 percent.
“To reduce its budget as a share of GDP in the immediate to medium term, the Government must simply suspend all capital projects, some of which should be renegotiated and cancelled or postpone project implementation to some later date.
In additional, he said, the Government should immediately identify other wasteful expenditures that should be quantified and programmed for in the macroeconomic framework that would be developed.
“In order to develop this macroeconomic framework, the elephant in the room is the mounting debt situation, which we as UPND has always been advising the Government against,” Mr Hichilema said.

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