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Tuesday, 13 August, 2019

Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States of America Embassy in Lusaka, MARTIN DALE says the efforts of the Zambian Government in implementing the Seventh National Development Plan, amid economic challenges, are commendable and deserve congratulations.

He further stated that the USA will continue to cultivate a strategic partnership with Zambia to ensure that strong results in social sectors, private sector development, governance, treasury management, conservation, tourism and other priority areas of cooperation, are delivered.

Mr. DALE said this during a US-Zambia bilateral meeting held at the TAJ Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, this morning.

“We recognize the challenges that your economy is currently facing. We commend the progress that you have made in implementing the Seventh National Development Plan. We are keen to continue supporting your efforts,” he said.

Mr. DALE, who was accompanied by US Embassy Political and Economic Section Chief, DOREEN BAILEY, also called on the Ministry of Finance to speed-up the identification of priority areas to facilitate access to external support under the current austerity model, and added that, strengthening domestic resource mobilization will be important too.

“We wish to see continued commitment in the implementation of austerity measures,” he stated.

The US Deputy Chief of Mission took the opportunity to explain that one of the key objectives of US cooperation is to build a sustainable strategic partnership targeted at offering assistance through private sector collaboration and development, “to ensure Zambia’s prosperity.”

Meanwhile, Ms. BAILEY took the opportunity to congratulate the Minister for hosting a second quarter public briefing, just a few days after his appointment, and for following that action with a timely notice to the domestic and international market, on the postponement of Sales Tax implementation from 1st September 2019 to 1st January 2020.

She encouraged the Ministry of Finance to share a road map of key dates as the country heads towards implementation of Sales Tax “so that the market could continue to prepare well.”

The US delegation also confirmed that a team from the US Treasury Department in Washington DC, has arrived in Zambia for bilateral engagements.

Speaking at the same event, Dr. NG’ANDU disclosed that he had the full backing of Cabinet in his task of scaling-up the implementation of fiscal consolidation and austerity measures.

The Minister reiterated that efficient debt management is an imperative which he had put at the top of his to-do list.

Dr. NG’ANDU added that while maintaining the compliance thrust in servicing foreign debt, the Ministry of Finance would continue to pay special attention to dismantling domestic arrears “as this is what will unlock activities in the private sector and get the economy’s progress on an upward trajectory.”

“We have also put a lid on new borrowing and are critically looking at non-debt options like Public-Private-Partnerships for us to continue delivering public goods and services to our prople,” he affirmed.

Dr. NG’ANDU added that capacity building initiatives for Zambians to manage large and big-budget projects is one of the priorities for the Government as it will have a lasting positive impact on the ability of the local private sector to initiate, construct, and manage infrastructural, and other high value projects.

The Minister also welcomed the news of the bilateral engagements with the US Treasury Department delegation.

Dr. NG’ANDU further stated that regular engagements between the Ministry of Finance, the public, the private sector, cooperating partners and other investor groups will be promoted to ensure that the information exchange and feedback mechanism system established recently is strengthened.

Issued by:

Chileshe Kandeta