Musokotwne sees 4% drop in inflation before year end

THE Government expects the inflation rate to drop to 10 per cent from the current 14 per cent before the end of the year, Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has said.

Dr Musokotwane in an interview in Lusaka yesterday said the reduction of the inflation rate was attainable in view of the start of maize purchases by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

“Once FRA purchases the maize it will contribute to the reduction of inflation by contributing to the price reduction of mealie meal and other commodities,” he said.

Dr Musokotwane said the Government was committed to seeing to it that the prices of basic commodities were reduced and it was for that reason that it had prioritised agriculture.

He said the Government would continue with policies that are aimed at encouraging and supporting the growing of various foodstuffs for the country’s food security as well as exports.

The minister emphasised the need for dedication to duty and hard work among Zambians for the country’s economy to develop.

He urged the private sector to continue partnering with the Government in various sectors especially agriculture and tourism, which are important for economic growth.

He cited the recent approval of more than US$250 million for Zambia by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying that would also help stabilise the Kwacha.

He said the support of donors and the purchase of maize during the marketing season was an indication of the Government’s commitment to improving the country’s economy.

He said the Governments was ready to continue maintaining its prudent macro economic policies and pursuing structural reforms to sustain the country’s economic growth.

In May this year, the IMF approved $256 million and disbursed about $160 million.

IMF deputy managing director and acting chair, Takatoshi Kato recently said the Fund had noted that Zambia’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) programme implementation and recent economic performance had been adversely affected by a number of external shocks, hence the approval of the funds.

The executive board approved an increase by $256.4 million to $329.7 million in financial support to Zambia under the PRGF.

The board also completed the first and second reviews of Zambia’s economic performance under the PRGF arrangement allowing the immediate disbursement of $160.1 million.

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