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2012 - Budget Address - Alexander Chikwanda Mp

2012 - Budget Address - Alexander Chikwanda Mp

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2012 BUDGET ADDRESS BY HON. ALEXANDER B. CHIKWANDA, MP

HONOURABLE MINISTER OF FINANCE, DELIVERED TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON FRIDAY 11TH NOVEMBER, 2011

2012 BUDGET ADDRESS BY HON. ALEXANDER B. CHIKWANDA, MP

HONOURABLE MINISTER OF FINANCE, DELIVERED TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON FRIDAY 11TH NOVEMBER, 2011

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 1
2012 BUDGET ADDRESS BY HON. ALEXANDER B. CHIKWANDA, MPHONOURABLE MINISTER OF FINANCE, DELIVERED TO THE NATIONALASSEMBLY ON FRIDAY 11TH NOVEMBER, 20111.
 
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move that theHouse do now resolve into Committee of Supply on the Estimates of Revenue andExpenditure for the year 1st January 2012to 31st December, 2012 presented to theNational Assembly in November 2011.
2.
 
Sir, I am the bearer of a messagefrom His Excellency the Presidentrecommending favourable consideration of the motion that I now lay on the Table.
3.
 
Mr. Speaker, as I begin this budgetaddress, I wish to acknowledge the macro-economic achievements that the countryhas attained when the economy was underthe stewardship of my predecessor, Hon.Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, MP. I wouldlike to pay tribute to him and the previousadministrations for laying a strongfoundation upon which this Governmentwill build.
4.
 
Mr. Speaker, 2011 is a landmark year. In September, we held successfulelections and had a peaceful transition of power, a rare feat on the African continent.As Zambians, we should be justly proud of this achievement. In October, wecelebrated 47 years of independence,regrettably amidst persistently high andunacceptable poverty levels.
5.
 
Sir, in his address to Parliament,His Excellency, the President outlined anambitious programme of action to beginhis
administration’s vigorous and
unrelenting fight against poverty. As weembark on the path to transform our nation,hard work is required and difficult choiceswill have to be made. But, as a nation, wehave collectively chosen this path. Withthis unity of purpose, we are confident thatthe challenges before us may be intractablebut certainly not insurmountable. It is ourduty to ensure that the benefits of ourrecent economic success are felt by everyZambian. Thus, the theme of the 2012budget is
“Making Zambia a better placefor all.”
 
6.
 
Sir, my speech this afternoon is infour parts. In Part I, I review the global anddomestic economy. Part II outlines themacro-economic objectives, policies andstrategies for the 2012 budget. In Part III, Ipresent the 2012 budget and I conclude inPart IV.
PART IGLOBAL AND DOMESTICECONOMIC REVIEWGLOBAL ECONOMY7.
 
Mr. Speaker, in 2011, the globaleconomy continued its recovery. Annualgrowth is projected at 4.0 percent slightlylower than the 5.1 percent recorded in2010. Economic growth was strong in theemerging and developing economies, withgrowth in Sub-Saharan Africa of 5.2percent in 2011. In contrast, growth in theadvanced economies, at 1.6 percent,continued to be sluggish largely on accountof unsustainable sovereign debts in someEuro zone countries and weak demand inthe United States of America.
8.
 
Mr. Speaker, strong growth inemerging economies and political unrest inNorth Africa and the Middle East havekept international commodity prices high.The average price of copper in the first tenmonths of 2011 was US $8,704 per tonne,compared to US $7,538 per tonne in 2010.The price of oil has averaged US $109.9per barrel in the first ten months of 2011,higher than the US $79.0 in 2010.
 
 2International food prices have also beengenerally high in 2011 mainly on accountof supply constraints.
9.
 
Sir, high commodity prices presentboth opportunities and risks to thedomestic economy. High copper prices canboost export earnings, facilitate investmentand support the fiscal position. Similarly,high food prices present an opportunity forthe country to enhance agriculturalproduction, and diversify the export base.In contrast, high oil prices could increasethe cost of production thereby increasinginflationary pressures in the domesticeconomy.
DOMESTIC ECONOMY
Growth and Inflation
10.
 
Mr. Speaker, preliminary estimatesindicate that the economy will grow by 6.5percent in 2011. This is in line with theinitial projection of 6.4 percent.Agriculture, manufacturing, construction,and transport and communications are themain drivers of this growth. Growth couldhave been significantly higher had themining sector performed according toprojection. I am concerned that the miningsector data do not fully reflect actualproduction.
11.
 
Sir, annual inflation has remainedin single digits and was 8.7 percent inOctober, 2011 compared to 7.9 percent inDecember 2010. The increase in inflationreflected the slight rise in annual foodinflation despite a high maize harvest.However, non-food inflation has beenfairly unchanged at low double digit levels.The recent reduction in fuel prices,effected by the PF Government, shouldreduce inflation by the end of the year.
 Monetary and Financial Sector Developments
12.
 
Mr. Speaker, economic activities in2011 have continued to drive growth inmoney supply. The annual growth inmoney supply was 26.8 percent up toSeptember 2011 compared with 23.6percent during the corresponding period of 2010. This was mainly driven by increasedlending to private enterprises, reflectinghigh confidence and opportunities in theeconomy.
13.
 
Sir, with regard to interest rates,returns on Government securities rosemainly on account of higher Governmentborrowing. Interest rates on Treasury billsincreased to 14.2 percent in October 2011from 8.2 percent in December 2010.Similarly, interest rates on Governmentbonds edged upwards to 16.2 percent from11.3 percent. Sir, lending rates incommercial banks have remained high andare not in line with low inflation andrelative macroeconomic stability. At thecurrent level, commercial bank interestrates are 300 percent the inflation rate.
14.
 
Mr. Speaker, high interest rates area serious constraint to lowering the cost of doing business, increasing access to creditand accelerating private sector growth.This is particularly true for the small andmedium scale enterprises which accountfor the bulk of employment opportunitiesand growth. In addition, small and mediumscale enterprises offer the most powerfulweapon to reduce poverty and create a justand equitable society.
15.
 
Sir
, Government’s legitimate
expectation is that interest rates willcontinue the downward trend that startedwithin the first 30 days of the PF assumingGovernment. The Bank of Zambia hastaken steps to enhance the liquidityavailable to banks by lowering the reserveratios. This can only be justified with alower interest rate regime.
 
 3
16.
 
Mr. Speaker,
the financial sector’s
overall performance has been favourable.In the banking sector, asset qualityimproved due to a reduction in gross non-performing loans. With respect to the non-bank financial institutions, performanceand financial condition was rated fair as atend-September 2011. The sector hascontinued to record growth with thenumber of institutions increasing to 95 asat end-September 2011 from 87 at end-September 2010.
17.
 
Sir, with regard to developmentsunder the Financial Sector DevelopmentPlan, access to financial services hasincreased through the promotion of microfinance services, mobile banking,money transfer services, and ruralbanking for the financially excludeddistricts. The number of mobile moneyservice providers increased to 57 as atAugust 2011 from 29 in December 2010.In addition, the number of districtswithout banking services declined to 7 asat end-September, 2011 from 14 inDecember 2010.
18.
 
Mr. Speaker, in line with thepositive economic performance, theLusaka Stock Exchange is poised toregister another year of impressive growth.In the first nine months, the share priceindex increased by 9.3 percent to 3,823.1,while market capitalization rose by 44.9percent to K44,802.1 billion. This outturnwas partly due to an improvement in netportfolio inflows of foreign capitalamounting to US $13.0 million, comparedto a net portfolio outflow of US $8.2million over the same period in 2010.
 External Sector Developments
19.
 
Mr. Speaker, the external sectorremained strong. The current accountsurplus is projected to rise by 54.7 percentto US $951.0 million in 2011 from US$614.7 million in 2010. This is mainly onaccount of high copper export earnings of US $8.4 billion, up from US $5.8 billion in2010. Non-Traditional Exports are againexpected to register robust growth and areprojected at US $1.5 billion in 2011 fromUS $1.2 billion last year. Consequently,gross international reserves rose to US$2.6 billion as at end-September 2011,representing 4.3 months of import cover.
20.
 
Sir, the exchange rate of theKwacha against major currencies exhibitedresilience. It depreciated marginally by 4.5percent to K4,949.8 per US dollar at end-October, 2011 from K4,735.7 per dollar asat end-December 2010. This was despiteuncertainties prior to the elections and thestrengthening of the US dollar.
BUDGET PERFORMANCE IN 201121.
 
Mr. Speaker, the performance of the budget in 2011 has generally beensatisfactory with end year revenuesexpected to be above target. However,there have been large pressures onexpenditure arising from the need to fundthe general elections, increased maizepurchases and procurement of fertilizer,among others. Consequently, the overalldeficit is expected to be 3.1 percent of GDP, compared to the projection of 2.9percent.
22.
 
Sir, preliminary figures as at end-September indicate that domestic revenuesat K14,580.2 billion have over performed.This trend is expected to continue and willresult in an over performance of 23.2percent by the end of the year. Thisperformance is mainly attributed topayment of mining tax arrears andimproved tax administration.
23.
 
Sir, general budget support receiptsfrom cooperating partners were projectedat K586.5 billion in 2011. As at end-September, K298.8 billion was receivedand the balance is expected to be receivedin full by the end of the year.

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