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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Begging for Infrastructure

President Lungu recently met FQM senior management officials as part of the tour of the open pit mine and copper smelter in Solwezi. He urged the mining company to partner with GRZ to “deliver local roads” and “light up Solwezi Airport” which is restricted to day flights due to inadequate infrastructure at the airport. President Lungu said, “we have to do 21kms of roads here in townships, come on board to help improve roads including the airport. Expand your corporate social responsibility to non-traditional areas. ..”

The call for the private sector to contribute towards investment in local roads and airport infrastructure is certainly welcome. Government is spending significant sums on the current roads programme through borrowing, and that does not even include “township roads”. Not only is the programme insufficient to upgrade all roads, it is also an extremely expensive and unsustainable undertaking to maintain some of the roads that are being upgraded. So one can see why President Lungu appears to be begging the mines to help.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Zampost Rising

Zampost Microfinance Limited (ZML), a subsidiary of the parastatal Zampost, is planning to issue its first tranche (K40 million) of the K100 million bond on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) by the end of this month to support expansion of its credit business. ZML provides salary-backed loans to the public. According to its parent company Zampost, there is increasing demand for loans. ZML’s loan book has grown to K10 million from mid-2013 to date.

Zampost is certainly one of the more genuine success stories of the PF government. Prior to 2011, the company was plagued by inefficiency and corruption. A 2008 Parliamentary Committee Report observed that Zampost suffered from “serious operational problems….lack of innovation…it has failed to reposition itself in the highly technologically advanced business environment….”

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Fuel prices go up!

The price of fuel has gone up. ERB has released the following press statement :
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has adjusted the pump prices of petroleum products as follows by K1.14 for petrol; K1.00 for diesel; K0.71 for kerosene and K0.99 for low sulphur gasoil (low sulphur diesel), effective midnight of 12th May 2015. Consequently the prices will now be as follows:

Friday, 15 May 2015

Zambia Monetary Policy Statement (May 2015)

Editor's note : The Bank of Zambia released its quarterly monetary policy statement this week. It notes that lower than programmed revenue is putting pressure on the financing requirements for the Budget from the domestic market which is causing yield rates on Government securities to rise. BOZ believes "further fiscal adjustments are required to address revenue shortfalls and rationalise expenditure to achieve fiscal sustainability. This is critical to achieving a stable macroeconomic environment going forward"
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met on 12th May 2015 to consider developments in the domestic economy as well as global economy over the first quarter of 2015, outlook for the second quarter and decide on the Policy Rate to achieve the Central Bank’s inflation objective to support macroeconomic stability.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Changing the Retiriment Age in Zambia

Editor's note: This is a guest post by Henry Kyambalesa, a resident contributor to Zambian Economist. He is a Zambian academic currently residing in Colorado, USA. The article makes some observations on the changes to the retirment age.
In November 2014, Acting President Guy L. Scott signed Statutory Instrument No. 63 of 2014 that raised the retirement age from 55 to 65 years, or 35 years of service.

In December 2014, the Minister of Labor and Social Security is quoted by Doreen Nawa of the Zambia Daily Mail as having defended the change in the country’s retirement age as follows: “We adjusted the retirement age as a way of increasing people’s life span. Information has shown that most people that have retired at 55 have died earlier because of many factors.”

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Election Musings

President Lungu this week delivered a blow to the opposition with three convincing parliamentary wins in his first electoral test as President. The PF won parliamentary by-elections in Chawama, Masaiti and Senga Hill and also picked a big chunk of ward victories held in various parts of the country.

Lawrence Sichalwe (Chawama) polled 7, 500 with closest rival UPND Charles Kaselwa polling 3, 200. Michael Katambo (Masaiti) polled 5,000 against closest rival UPND Peter Mumba polling 2,150. Kapembwa Simbao (Senga Hill) polled over 8500 against his closest rival who polled around 4700.