Zambian 2017 Budget Obtains $250m Boost.
THE African Development Bank (AfDB) will next year provide US$ 250 million direct budget support to Government to help develop the energy sector.
Minister of Finance Felix Mutat i said Government has resumed budget support programmes with AfDB to address some bottlenecks in the energy sector.
“ We have 300 megawatts of electricity at Maamba which cannot be transmitted because the current transmission line is small.
So, we are working with AfDB, getting back what was lost [ direct budget support] and they will give us US$ 250 million to deal with issues around transmission of power and reforming the energy sector,” Mr Mutati said.
The minister said this in Livingstone on Saturday night at a post- budget analysis meeting organised by the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Mutati said it would be difficult to attract investment into tourism and other economic sectors if Zambia does not address the energy deficit.
One of the biggest hurdles in boosting tourism in Livingstone is electricity. Petroleum subsector is also embedded with inefficiencies, Government will with effect March 1, 2017 disengage from procurement of finished petroleum products to pave way for the private sector.
Our role will be limited to regulation,” he said.
Mr Mutati said Government will next year work to transform Livingstone city into a premier conferencing centre in southern Africa to leverage on the infrastructure developments that have been undertaken.
He said creation of a premier conference facility will assist in creating peripheral businesses among the locals.
Mr Mutati said Government will further implement the tourism development fund to support tourism products, infrastructure and tourism marketing.
Mr Mutati said 2016 has been a tough year as evidenced by deficits in government finance, trade and electricity.
He said the economy is grinding to a crunch and most business houses are feeling the impact.