The Death of His Excellency, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata: Statement on the Economy by the Secretary to the Treasury Mr. Fredson Yamba

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Republic of Zambia

Countrymen and women, Tuesday, 28th October 2014, will forever be remembered as the day when our President, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, bid farewell to us to rest in the eternal presence of the Almighty. His vision was anchored on inclusive growth for all through sustained high rates of economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation. This is the legacy he has left with us.

Under his able leadership and guidance, the economy grew by more than 6 percent per annum, well above the Sub- Saharan Africa average, while inflation has been contained within single-digits. The external sector, especially non-traditional exports grew significantly with agriculture exports exceeding US$1 billion dollars, the highest in the history of the country. This reflects his will for the country to diversify the economy.

As Zambians we also witnessed an unprecedented focus on capital investment in social and economic infrastructure, particularly in health, education, roads, rails, and energy sectors. Recognizing the high unemployment levels in the country particularly among our youth, the Government did put in place an Industrialization and Job Creation Strategy. This strategy is bearing fruit as seen through a sustained increase in additional jobs and incomes, which is important in lowering poverty.

As a mark of growing investor confidence, Foreign Direct Investment has continued to grow reaching the peak of US $1.73 billion in 2012, the highest in 12 years. The investments have been broad-based-covering Government’s priority economic sectors, namely agriculture, tourism, labour and export-led manufacturing, mining and construction. This is a reflection of the improved investment environment in the country, made possible by policy consistency and workable pro-private sector strategies.

It is in this regard that Government would like to re-assure the nation, investors and cooperating partners, that strong macro-economic policies underpinned by the need for high sustainable growth, creating jobs and reducing poverty, will remain as our focus. As a nation, our economic policies will continue to be sound irrespective of who takes office. This is on account of a strong bedrock upon which the economy is based. There is no disagreement amongst our citizens on where we are and where we should go in terms of economic development. This consensus will provide stability in terms of economic management going forward.

I wish to appeal to all economic players, to remain calm as they execute their business activities and to desist from speculative tendencies that may cause instability in our economy. May I assure you that the Government has put in place stringent measures to ensure smooth operations and safety of public resources and assets. Let me also assure you that the Government will honour all domestic and international obligations, contracts, agreements and relationships. We will also remain amenable to external reviews from rating agencies and surveillance from international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, and further fostering our relations with other multilateral institutions and cooperating partners. Dialogue on important national issues that border on the economy will be encouraged and accommodated.

Countrymen and women, when we lost our sitting President in 2008, we, as Zambians handled the affairs of the nation with firmness, maturity and unity. There is therefore no basis for panic by any economic players both foreign and domestic as the situation will be handled with greater firmness, maturity and unity.

I thank you, and may God continue to bless mother Zambia as the nation mourns our beloved President.

Fredson Yamba
Secretary to the Treasury
Ministry of Finance