EU Commits K1.7M To Zambia’s Projects.
THE European Union (EU) has committed a K1.7 million grant to support Zambia’s new projects in renewable energy, public finance management, gender based violence and agricultural programmes next year.
And British Ambassador to Zambia Fergus Cochrane- Dyet has welcomed Government’s steps towards an economic recovery programme through a five- pronged plan dubbed ‘ Zambia Plus’. EU head of delegation Alessandro Mariani said the programmes to be supported will be reviewed to ensure that they are in line with what Zambians need.
“ This year has been very fruitful and 2017 looks very promising. Over the years, we have established a very good, solid and dynamic partnership with the Zambian government,” Mr Mariani said.
He said the EU has € 105 million worth of new programmes in energy with € 40 million just signed on November 28, 2016 for the Lusaka transmission and distribution line.
Mr Mariani also said the EU is at the beginning of next year expected to sign a grant to go towards the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam Plunge Pool.
He said the EU will also provide finances for the rehabilitation of the 250 kilometre works on the Great East Road from Luangwa Bridge to Malawi border.
On economic relations, Mr Mariani said Zambia remains an attractive investment destination for European investors as a good number of them have been coming into the country to look for investment opportunities.
Mr Mariani said Zambia is welcome to sign and ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement.
“ This is a sovereign decision.
For the time being, Zambia can count everything but arms initiative ( duty- free, quota- free access to EU markets),” he said.
And Mr Cochrane- Dyet said the need for economic reform is pressing because the country has been running a fiscal deficit for some time.
“ It is said that debt servicing has returned to become a major feature of government expenditure. Subsidies, public sector costs, along with debt servicing dominate. This cannot continue indefinitely,” Mr Cochrane- Dyet said.
He said the country’s expenditure must be reduced and revenue increased but it will not be easy for Government and ordinary Zambians.
“ Zambia has the full support of the international community including the EU and member states,” Mr Cochrane- Dyet said.