Foreword to the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme by H.E. Mr. Edgar C. Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia

The last decade has been turbulent to our development agenda. This made it difficult to implement long-term policies for sustained economic stability and higher growth. The new five year mandate that the Zambian people have given us provides ample time to achieve our set objectives. Government is committed to restore fiscal balance, as it is a critical step in getting the economy back towards a more sustainable growth trajectory that is inclusive. The teamwork exhibited by all well-meaning Zambians in coming up with this home-grown programme is a true testimony of our commitment to restore fiscal fitness and stimulate sustainable economic growth and development.

Accordingly, we shall ensure that we implement even those reforms that we could not previously undertake. We are all agreed that the task of restoring stability and accelerating growth comes with its own challenges. Turning the economy around and improving the lives of our people requires that we make hard choices and implement appropriate reforms. The time to act is now and we will therefore, need to be bold and decisive.

The economic environment in which the 2017 budget has been executed and the subsequent Government budgets will be implemented is expected to be challenging. This is on account of anticipated continuation of subdued growth in the global economy and domestic shocks which may constrain production and general economic activities.

This reality means that we have to act decisively to address the challenges we face in order to restore economic stability. Further, only unity and hard work will help us overcome these challenges for shared prosperity. It is in this regard that Government has developed this Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme (ESGP) dubbed “Zambia Plus” 2017-2019.

The ESGP is a home-grown programme and a product of wide consultations with various stakeholders. This Programme is a medium-term document that sets out concrete actions that are required to restore fiscal fitness, so as to reinvigorate the economy after a few years of sluggish growth. This is embodied in the theme of the document, “Restoring Fiscal Fitness for Sustained Inclusive Growth and Development”. The document also serves as the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the period 2017-2019.

The ESGP which is an anchor to the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), 2017-2021, has five key pillars. These are:

  1. Restoring credibility of the budget by minimising unplanned expenditures and halting the accumulation of arrears;
  2. Enhancing domestic resource mobilisation and refocusing of public spending on core public sector mandates;
  3. Improving our economic and fiscal governance by raising the levels of accountability and transparency in the allocation and use of public finances;
  4. Ensuring greater economic stability, growth and job creation through policy consistency to raise confidence for sustained private sector investment; and
  5. Scaling-up Government’s social protection programmes to shield the most vulnerable in our society from negative effects of the programme.

The successful attainment of the above pillars will require concerted efforts and commitment for shared prosperity. We are alive to the fact that the hard choices we are making will have consequences on our society, especially the vulnerable. Thus, we commit to scale-up our social safety net programmes in order to mitigate the impact on the poor. In this regard, Government’s commitment is that resources over the Programme period are allocated to promote equitable development across the country. I also wish to emphasise that Cooperating Partners will play a significant role in complementing the implementation of the ‘Zambia Plus”.

I wish to re-echo that, the time to act is now, for sustained, inclusive growth and development. Key success factors towards this, will include; strong governance and political will; ensuring policy consistency; strict implementation of structural reforms; adherence to fiscal discipline; sustainable debt management; and provision of quality and timely statistics.


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