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Lungu hints at IMF intervention as he addresses business community

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President Lungu

President Lungu

President-elect Edgar Lungu today, Thursday August 18, 2016 met business leaders for a special breakfast meeting at which he hinted at broad policy measures to accelerate economic growth and control spending during his next five-year tenure.

This is contained in a Press Statement made available to Zambian Eye by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda.

Chanda says Lungu addressed more than 70 captains of commerce and industry at Lusaka’s Chrismar Hotel today, and assured them that he aims at creating a more stable and predictable open market environment with increased consultation between Government and the business community.

“I have five years now which is sufficient time to take more decisive action. I will take measures to grow the economy and control
expenditure. Some measures will be painful but they will yield results and by 2021, and people will reward us for having taken such action,” Lungu told the business community.

“We have been constrained to take certain measures due to political considerations. But I am glad that one of the major benefits from the
current constitutional order is that it assures stability in policy formulation and implementation because there is no fear of disruption in the Presidency, at least for a period of five years under the running-mate arrangement,” he said.

“Tough decisions will be made. Some will be painful but necessary. Business confidence has oftentimes suffered because of the frequent
changes in the Presidency in the last seven years.”

Lungu said all the ministers he will appoint must be business and public-friendly because dialogue will be the hallmark of his Presidency.

Lungu said all components of the IMF Programme will be mutually agreed.  He said government and the IMF have made great progress and reached broad consensus on the key areas of the Programme.

The Head of State hinted at a rapid but progressive migration to a cost-reflective tariff structure in the electricity and fuel sectors and the restructuring of the agriculture support programme under which government provides subsidies for seed and fertilizer.

Co-moderators of the business breakfast, entrepreneurs Guy Phiri and Mark O’Donnell delivered a message of congratulation on behalf of the business forum, which has organised itself as an independent think-tank to advise government on the interests of industry.

The business leaders told their stories of hope they have seen in the resilience of the economy under the difficult period of electioneering
and general slowdown in the global economy.

“There was not much panic among investors during this period but instead we saw remarkable transactions by major corporations
buying assets on the Zambian market,” said Caesar Siwale, the CEO of Pangaea Securities Limited, a leading investment advisor.

The President also announced plans to restructure the Food Reserve Agency into strictly an entity for purchasing strategic food reserves. This
would reduce on FRA’s demands on the Treasury. The FRA has done tremendously well in reducing crop waste and now we want them to reduce on its resource demands on the Treasury.

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