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Zambia: President Sata dismisses opposition claim on investor confidence

Zambian President Michael Sata has said the notable increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows reflects continued investor confidence in the Zambian economy and stronger investments profitability prospects.

President Sata’s observation follows opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema’s claim that Sata’s government is implementing poor socio-economic policies, which in turn have adversely affected investor confidence.

President Sata on Thursday wondered what investment statistics the UPND leader was using to come up with such an erroneous and simplistic evaluation of the country’s general economic performance.

“…for someone who claims to be an economic manager, we expected Mr. Hichilema to show his economic management competence by engaging the public with proof as opposed to his usual pedestrian arguments about the investor confidence in the economy,” the Head of State said in a statement issued by State House.

“Let me remind him that maintaining a positive investment climate for current and potential investors is an important component of this Government’s economic growth strategy. This is evidenced by the increased actualised investment and Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) both of which reached the highest in 2013.

“Actualised investment for 2013 is valued at over US$1.8 billion, whilst actualised investment inflows in 2012 were valued at US$1.7 billion, from US$1.1 billion actualised in 2011. It is important to note that investments into Zambia have continued to grow on account of the prudent macro-economic management by government.”

The President said as of December 2013, NTEs were valued at over US$3.5 billion whilst for the period 2012 NTEs increased to over US$2.8 billion compared to US$1.8 billion in 2011.

“NTEs increased mainly on account of higher earnings from the export of copper wire, burley tobacco, cane sugar, fresh flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, electricity, petroleum products, cement and lime, and electric cables,” President Sata said.

President Sata said the government’s focus for 2014 will be to: achieve real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of above 7 percent; attain end year inflation of no more than 6.5 percent; increase international reserves to cover 3 months of imports; and containing the overall budget deficit to no more than 6.6 percent of GDP.

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