Barclays Bank  calls for policy to grow economy


ZAMBIA needs to put in place a clear and coherent policy framework in tackling its economic growth for its long-term outlook, Barclays Bank Africa has said.

In the July 2016 report prepared by Barclays Africa, the bank observed that Zambia lacked a clear and coherent policy framework which was weighing on the country’s long-term outlook.

In the report, the bank also said the revised Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) would however lift the country to middle income status through an inclusive growth strategy, focusing on rural development and job creation.

The bank also said it did not envisage significant policy changes once President Edgar Lungu officially retained office.

It further said it expected President Lungu to continue discussions towards agreeing to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

Barclays Africa however observed that the policy outlook would somewhat be uncertain if UPND had won the August elections.

“In comments made in April on his website, Hichilema appears to be against an IMF programme. This is somewhat disconcerting as the absence of an IMF programme could further delay the economic recovery,” read the report.

The bank said Zambia’s economy was already struggling as a result of sustained low copper prices, electricity constraints, tight monetary policies and fiscal constraints and a lack of policy clarity.

“The copper mining sector continues to be affected by sustained low copper prices and electricity shortages. This has forced some mines to reduce production while others have closed, albeit temporarily.

“While the Government remains hopeful that output will be higher than last year following the completion of the Kalumbila mine this year (the mine is expected to have full production of close to 300,000 tonnes per annum), production remains constrained by electricity shortages,’’ read the report.

The bank said it expected copper production to fall to below last year’s 708,000 tonnes, although risk was on the upside if electricity supply improved beyond its expectations.