Concerns that the Fed will have to wrestle with elevated inflation for a long time slowed this week’s rally
Monday, August 15 2022
Sars and corruption busters need more tools to investigate, says Edward Kieswetter
The ruling party gathering hit by litigation and a breach of security allegedly leading to the cloning of delegates’ tags
Chair Paul Jenkins says Mpact CEO Bruce Strong implied that his company is acting improperly
Consumer finances crumble under the pressure of rising prices and interest rates, Unisa vulnerability report shows
Group homes in on home deliveries trend and hopes to supply electricity to Eskom
GOP questions FBI’s actions after search warrant shows motive was possible Espionage Act violations
Reece James seemed to have sealed the points for the hosts with a 77th-minute goal, but the striker scored in stoppage time
Pharmaceutical giant has been forced to pay $3.5bn in settlements so far to resolve cancer cases
Lusaka - Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said on Friday his new government would implement policies to reduce the fiscal deficit, restore economic growth and review mining policies.
In his first address to a new session of parliament since his election in August, Hichilema said officials would also review agricultural policies, revise electricity prices and reform state power firm Zesco.
Last November Africa's second-biggest copper producer became the first country on the continent to default on its sovereign debt during the pandemic, after failing to keep up with payments on its more than $12bn of international debt.
“Rebuilding our economy is top on our agenda. We will implement policies to address the fiscal deficit while ensuring that confidence is restored in the markets,” Hichilema said.
“We have indeed inherited an economy that is in dire straits and requires bold and decisive action to be taken,” he said, adding that his government was committed to halting the accumulation of expensive public debt.
Zambia's external debt includes about $3bn in Eurobonds, $3.5bn in bilateral debt, $2.1bn owed to multilateral agencies and $2.9bn in commercial bank debt.
Zambia also owes mining companies more than $1.5bn in value-added tax (VAT) refunds, an issue that soured relations between the government and the mining sector.
The VAT refunds are the top priority for the industry, said Zambia's Chamber of Mines CEO Godwin Beene, who represents mining companies including First Quantum Minerals' Kansanshi Mining and Barrick Gold's Lumwana Mining.
'Game changer' for mining companies
Hichilema's market-friendly stance will attract new investment into Zambia's mining sector and help boost the country's copper production at a propitious time of near record-high copper prices, Beene said.
“This election was a game-changer for the industry,” he told Reuters.
Hichilema's predecessor, Edgar Lungu, had pushed for greater state ownership of mines. State mining investment company ZCCM-IH took on $1.5bn in debt in January to take over Glencore's majority stake in the Mopani copper mine.
The previous government was looking for an investor to fund the mine's expansion, which would boost output from 34,000 tonnes of copper a year to 150,000 tonnes.
Zambia as a whole hopes to increase its annual copper output to 2-million tonnes by 2026, new finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said last month. The country produced 882,000 tonnes last year.
Hitting that target will require significant investment in Mopani and other mines across Zambia, as well as in exploration.Reuters
Would you like to comment on this article? Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.