Investors are increasingly showing confidence, says Chikwanda

Zambia’s Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda has disclosed that Investors are increasingly showing confidence in the country’s policy direction and national stability.

Speaking in a Special briefing in London on April 26, 2013 on his way back from US to Zambia, Chikwanda explained that Investors and other International partners are reportedly satisfied with Zambia’s policy consistency, national stability and its impressive social cohesion.

“Investors perceive Zambia a good investment destination because of the proven political and policy stability over a long period of time,” Chikwanda said according a statement issued by High Commission of Zambia Press Secretary Amos Chanda in London. “What matters is policy consistency and predictability. We cannot put up with policy somersaults as we seek more open ways to engage with the rest of the world.”

The Minister also dispelled assertions in some circles that Zambia was moving towards capital controls saying the government has simply introduced monitoring mechanisms to enable the Central Bank capture vital statistics.

“For planning purposes we need to monitor what is produced and the true worth of those goods and services, especially mining exports. The Central Bank simply requests exporters to complete relevant forms for statistical purposes. How does that become capital controls?”

Chikwanda asked and said: “We have the most liberal economy in the entire sub-continent. Investors have special accounts with unfettered access as and when they please. We neither have capital controls nor exchange controls… we are a very open economy compared to none on the continent. Investors are able to repatriate their profits unhindered as long as they met all the statutory obligations.”

He disclosed that government has engaged special consultants to advise the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) on mining production and taxation in a bid to maximize tax collection from the country core economic sector.

Chikwanda said in comparison to other countries, Zambia ranks poorly in terms of the mining sector contribution to GDP where South Africa and Botswana earns as much as 11 per cent from the mining sector Zambia gets a paltry 5 per cent.

“Our government was elected to superintend over the affairs state in manner that assures mutual benefits for both investors and the people of Zambia. We cannot perpetuate wrongdoing and violations. We are not absentee landlords, we are a democratically elected government with the full mandate to discharge duties fairly,” Chikwanda said.

He said government has taken corrective measures in some areas of the economy particularly regarding the sale of some state assets but did not imply state control of the economy.

“Any wrongdoing and corrupt activity in the sale of assets that belong to the people entails un-sustainability. We are through with major issues on this subject and no one has litigated on clear issues that we have decided on,” the Minister explained.

He stressed that national interest must always transcend petty and sectional interests and therefore the Patriotic Front  (PF) government will not be cowed by self-appointed apostles who are preaching Zambia’s doom in order to advance the foreign interests of their masters.

The Minister is said to have held consultations with different investors in London on his way from the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC.

Chikwanda is expected back to Zambia today, April 27, 2013.