Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu says honeymoon for his job is short as the terms of reference given to him by the Republican President to stabilize and grow the economy offer limited room for delay.
He told the Co-operating Partners Group (CPG) at his office yesterday that hard work is beckoning, and that the need for action is immediate.
“…my honeymoon is short and my Ministry will require your unfettered support to push policy implementation and get work done,” Dr. Ng’andu told the CPG during a courtesy meeting held at the Ministry of Finance.
He took the opportunity to assure the cooperating partners that the Zambian Government valued the relationships with all stakeholders and is therefore “keen to strengthen existing ties through various development platforms”.
Dr. Ng’andu pledged to meet all the partners individually in order to reach common ground on areas that need attention to stimulate faster implementation of development programmes.
And the Cooperating Partners restated their commitment to support the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
The CPG delegation has reaffirmed their support towards building a strong partnership with the Zambian Government.
Speaking as Chair of the CPG, German Head of Development Cooperation Christoph Fritz said the expressed assurance of the Zambian Government to implement austerity measures is a very important message to the international community as it demonstrates the resolve of the authorities in taking corrective measures in the country’s progression towards fiscal health.
The CPG also encouraged Dr Ng’andu to continue with the country’s efforts towards acquisition of an IMF supported economic programme to expand the financing options available to Zambia by way of support from other cooperating partners.
Among the other issues discussed in the courtesy meeting were debt management, financial governance, private sector development, value for money public investments, protection of social spending, and drought responsiveness.
Further, the cooperating partners listed the e-voucher programme and the economic stabilisation and growth reforms among the issues that needed closer attention of the Zambian Government.
Contributing to the proceedings, African Development Bank Country Manager Mary Monyau announced the bank’s approval of a support package that will help raise Zambia’s capacity in domestic resource mobilisation and debt management.
World Bank country manager Ina Marie Ruthenberg took the opportunity to bid farewell to the minister, as July 31 was the last day of her tour of duty in Zambia.
During the meeting, the CPG and the Zambian government agreed on the need for the latter to develop an action matrix that will help stakeholders to track progress in the implementation of socio-economic policies and reforms in key areas such as agriculture, energy and food security.