By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
NEW Finance Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, has outlined an aggressive economic recovery plan which is expected to lower the cost of living, stretching debt payments while increasing copper production to two million tonnes annually.
And Zambia has been allocated the US$1.3 billion Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Dr Musokotwane said Government’s main focus would be on economic recovery which was stressed, thereby leading to a high cost of living.
Dr Musokotwane said the Finance ministry would therefore take an aggressive approach anchored on stimulating growth despite the stressed economic environment.
“This economic stress arises from the fact that Zambia in a short period borrowed too much money meaning that as we pay back there is little liquidity for those running businesses to have customers.
“It has become hard to hire essential workers such as teachers and health workers,” Dr Musokotwane told the media yesterday in Lusaka yesterday.
He indicated that Government would take an aggressive approach in an effort to increase copper production to two million tonnes annually.
He explained that Government would ride on the current copper prices to ensure that the country had enough revenue to pay back its debt.
“The mining output has been stuck for the last 10 years about 800, 000 metric tonnes a year, we are going to push aggressively so that mining output in the next 10 year comes to something like three million tonnes.
“By the end of this current mandate, we want to push mining output to close to two million per annum. The good thing is that the prices of copper is projected to remain high for many years,” Dr Musokotwane said.
He indicated that Government would persuade credible investors to invest in the Multi-Facility Economic Zones.
On debt, Dr Musokotwane said Government would engage creditors in an effort to stretch repayments.
Zambia’s external debt stands around US$12.7 billion.
Dr Musokotwane said Government was banking its confidence on an IMF programme.
He said Government was determined to conclude with the IMF on a discussions by September or October 2021.
At the same briefing, Secretary to the Treasury, Fredson Yamba, confirmed that Zambia has been allocated the US$1.3 billion Special Drawing Rights from the IMF.