By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA in Lima, Peru –
THE Government has said it aims to achieve reduced Budget deficit from 2016 onwards as it will tighten the fiscal policy for the economy to achieve sustained growth.
Finance Deputy Minister Christopher Mvunga said the Budget deficit would decline to around three per cent by 2017.
Mr Mvunga said this during the bilateral meeting with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) vice-president Kato Hiroshi here yesterday.
Mr Mvunga said, going forward, the Government would implement tight fiscal measures that would focus on growing the productive sectors of the economy.
“Without preempting the Budget speech for 2016 which will be presented tomorrow in Parliament under the theme ‘Fiscal Consolidation’, this clearly demonstrates that the Government has taken a firm view on fiscal consolidation,” he said.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda is expected to present the 2016 national Budget to Parliament today.
Mr Mvunga said the vision of the country was to have a zero deficit Budget and hope by post-2018 the Government will start considering things like sovereign wealth funds, among other things.
He said that on a holistic level, the macro-economic fundamentals were still solid, saying that it was not as bad as it was being portrayed.
Mr Mvunga said there was a realisation that to underwrite the future growth of the economy, the Government needed to invest in infrastructure and hence the contraction of debt on the bond market.
He said there was need to now focus on the agriculture, energy and tourism sectors, among others, to be more resilient to external shocks.
Mr Mvunga said it was the desire of the Government to strength the bilateral relationship between the two nations.
Speaking earlier, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA’) vice president for Africa, Rural Development, Global Partnership and Research Institute Mr Hiroshi said the Japanese government was ready to support Zambia’s development agenda.
Mr Hiroshi said his agency was currently undertaking a feasibility study on the power transmission lines and Lusaka water project of which both studies were likely to be completed soon.
“The other project we are looking at is the Lusaka Water project and this is the city water supply improvement project which is requested by the Zambian Government and we have also started the preparatory study and again it will take a year also,” Mr Hiroshi said.
Mr Hiroshi said the sound macro-economic management of the economy was critical to achieving sustained growth.