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ZAMBIA’S DEBT SUSTAINABILITY ON COURSE – THINK-TANK

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU                               

EFFECTIVE implementation of the measures aimed at restoring fiscal and debt sustainability by Government are crucial to ensuring economic stabilisation and growth.

Government has continued to strive towards attaining fiscal and debt sustainability to restore economic growth, according to Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) Executive Director, Bernadette Deka-Zulu.

Ms Deka-Zulu noted that there had been several strides made towards restoring and stabilising growth within the economy, which had resulted in positive performances in economic parameters.

“Its commitment is evidenced by the strategies outlined in the Economic Recovery Programme, which when implemented holistically will spur growth and set Zambia on a path of economic recovery.

“Equally, curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic at a global level will have a positive impact on economies such as Zambia,” she said in her OP-ED on Fiscal and Debt Sustainability: Restoring Economic Growth and Stability Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Ms Deka-Zulu encouraged Government to continue pursuing avenues aimed at restoring the economy.

These, she said, included debt restructuring, adopting cost efficient measures of doing business and considering the formulation of a medium-term policy that will put the country back on a trajectory to achieving fiscal consolidation.

“A myriad of strategies have been put in place through the Economic Recovery Programme and other monetary and fiscal measures which underpin economic restoration and growth,” she stated.

Ms Deka-Zulu cited that in the medium-term, Government was seeking to undertake further tax policy and administrative measures to enhance domestic resource mobilisation.

Amongst others, she said, one such measure was to broaden excise taxation by expanding the scope of goods on which excise duty is levied. She indicated that excise duties were traditionally charged to discourage the purchase of goods which are harmful to consumers’ health or the environment.

“With regards to debt, Government has put in place several measures to address this issue: In the medium term, Government will seek to return to debt sustainability by undertaking project rescoping, cancellation and restructuring of debt by the end of 2022.

“The government also intends to dismantle outstanding external payment arrears as well as refinance domestic debt.

This will be achieved by increasing the maturity profile of domestic debt through the refinancing of shorter-term debt to longer term,” Ms Deka-Zulu said.

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