By CECILIA MUBAMBE
THE 5 percent economic growth projected by President Edgar Lungu can only be achieved if drastic measures are taken to engage the private sector, an economist has said.
Zambian economist Mr Yusuf Dodia said the government was too dependent on borrowing money from external sources including the IMF instead of actualising measures that would trigger internal local resource generation.
He cited Government intention to borrow more that 290 percent from the domestic economy this year as an exercise that would crowd out local private sector participation as the banks were more disposed to lending Government where the risk was low or nonexistent compared to private business.
Instead of depending on the IMF and other foreign entities to finance growth the Government, he said Government should put in place measures to ensure that proceeds from the export of such commodities as copper, sugar, cement, agriculture and livestock were repatriated into the country.
Mr Dodia said the nation produced in excess of US$6 to US$7 billion US dollars per year in exports but not all export proceeds were repatriated to Zambia., this money if brought back home would go a long way towards achieving the GDP goal for 2018.
“If the President is expecting the economy to grow by 5 percent, many structures of the economy should incorporate the private sector to invest more in the economy,” he said.
Mr Dodia said the starting point was the reduction of the cost of doing business by reducing such costs as fuel, electricity tariffs, among others.
“I instead of going down the cost of doing business in Zambia was on the increase, as charges were sometimes 3 to 4 times as much as before, such as the case of renewing a gun licence which used to cost K50 now cost K500.