In response to a request from the authorities and as part of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) Enhanced Data Dissemination Initiative (EDDI) 2 project, a Government Finance Statistics (GFS) mission visited Lusaka, Zambia, during November 19–30, 2018. This was the third mission to Zambia under the DFID EDDI2 project, following the March 2016 and November 2017 missions. The mission worked essentially with staff at the Zambia Central Statistical Office (CSO) Public Finance Unit (PFU), but also had meetings with staff from the Ministry of Finance’s Accountant General, Budget, Investment and Debt Management, and Economic Management departments.
This Technical Assistance (TA) report focuses on four key work areas which may lead to improvement of Government Finance Statistics (GFS) for fiscal analysis, support policy making decisions in Zambia, and improve African Department surveillance. The mission found out that the Coordinating Committee, recommended in the previous TA mission, was not yet established. The mission reviewed progress on the legal and institutional arrangements supporting the compilation of GFS as a follow up from recommendations of the previous GFS TA mission and found that the legislation reforms were on track, especially regarding the Public Finance Act. The report also found that Central Statistical Office (CSO) is working on the revision of the Statistics Act to follow the new strategy for National Development of Statistics. For sustainability and consistency purposes, the mission recommended that the CSO staff produce a GFS manual for compilation and dissemination of GFS data.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the sustainability of Zambia’s current fiscal policies and public debt. Large fiscal imbalances and rapid increase in government debt since 2011 have raised concern about the sustainability of fiscal policies in Zambia. Fueled by the rapid exchange rate depreciation in 2014–15 and the heavy reliance on external sources to finance the growing fiscal imbalances, public external debt doubled in 2015 compared with 2014. The institutional framework for the budget process and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework need to be strengthened. Poor commitment controls, which led to significant accumulation of payment arrears, need to be addressed. A sound Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy is required to reduce public sector debt vulnerability.
This Selected Issues paper presents an analysis of change in Zambia’s mining fiscal regime. Foreign investment has revived Zambia’s mining sector. However, its mining sector’s direct contribution to government revenues has been low. Reflecting persistent concerns about the low contribution of the mining sector to budget revenues, the government has amended the fiscal regime many times over the last seven years. The 2015 budget introduced major changes to the mining fiscal regime. The authorities estimate that the change would boost budget revenues from the mining sector by about 1 percent of GDP, based on an assumption that the change would have no adverse impact on production.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that in the last two years, the Zambian economy has been weighed down by large fiscal imbalances, lower copper prices, and policy uncertainties. Real GDP growth has slowed, the current account has deteriorated, international reserves have fallen, and the exchange rate has been under downward pressure. The IMF staff estimates that real GDP growth slowed from 6.7 percent in 2013 to 5.6 percent in 2014, driven by a contraction in copper production. Growth is projected to average 5.5–7 percent a year over the medium term, reflecting the impact of investments in mining and electricity in recent years.
Despite the rapid increase in FDI flows to LICs, there have been relatively few studies that have specifically examined these flows. This paper attempts to partially fill the void by throwing light on one particularly dynamic aspect of global FDI-flows from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs). The paper finds that official data sources undoubtedly underestimate the volume and scope of FDI flows as many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not always register their investment. As a result, while it is difficult to estimate accurately the growth impact of BRIC FDI, there is case study evidence that it is increasingly significant. Second, while initial investment, mostly by state-owned companies, has often been destined for natural resource industries, over time, investment has been spreading to agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries (e.g., telecommunications). Third, FDI from BRICs flows into many non resource-rich countries in LICs and plays a significant role in growth in those countries.
Zambia’s nonperforming loans are expected to increase and banks have become more cautious in their lending. The staff report for the Zambia’s first and second reviews of the Three-Year Arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and request for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria, and Augmentation of Access is examined. The slowdown in external demand and uncertainty about the global outlook have negatively affected growth prospects and the balance of payments, and made the program targets for reserve accumulation unattainable.
The fiscal stance has been more expansionary in 2008, but there should be no need for net domestic financing. The new fiscal regime for mining increases the average effective tax rate from a level that was significantly below that of other mining countries. The monetary program aims to reduce annual inflation to 7 percent in 2008. The authorities intend to address the challenge of coordinating fiscal and monetary policies to enable the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) to improve liquidity management. Structural policies will complement the medium-term macroeconomic framework.