On Monday 1st October, 2018, KPMG held a 2019 Budget discussion programme over hot breakfast at Hotel Intercontinental in Lusaka. It brought together and ensemble of delegates from different sectors of the economy.
The discussion which attracted delegates from different organisational backgrounds and honorable ministers was aimed at discussing and understanding the National budget which was recently presented in parliament by the Minister of Finance Honorable Margaret Mwanakatwe. Sadly, the Finance Minister had other commitments and she asked an alumni of the Finance Minister’s position, Honorable Felix Mutati to stand in for her. Judging by how he walked in his old shoes, he most definitely carried a “doggie bag” for Margaret with juicy details of how Jason Kazilimani’s event went.
A panel of discussing was held which included questions and answers. Among the discussants were, Lubinda Haabazoka – Economist and WAS president, Leonard Mwanza – CEO, Bankers Association of Zambia, Chipego Zulu – CEO Zambia Association of manufactures and Mr Noel Nkoma – Economist and CEO of Betternow Finance Company (BFC). The discussants expressed different views regarding the budget, some showed concern about more taxes being introduced for the private sector, however the other discussants felt the budget was pro-business and that there is need for a lot of balance to be put in place. The discussants stated that the budget reflects what we are facing in the country and trying to put everybody on board to contribute to the Economic development of the country. Other topics discussed were the introduction of Sales Tax in place of VAT which was said to be a good move. Debt service which is about 22 billion Kwacha was among other topics discussed.
The honorable Felix Mutati was a key note speaker during the discussion. Speaking during the session, he talked about fiscal fitness in which he mentioned that 2018 was a tough year but not withstanding some of the positives such as enhanced production in the mining sector, some lift up in the price of copper, the easing of monitory policies that were put through by the central bank, the elimination of the power deficit and the balance the country had in the maize production. He however stated that even after having such positives, 2018 still remained a tough year and therefore it impacted on the fiscal fitness. Honorable Mutati however said, against these toughness, measures were put in place to get the economy back on the right on track.
Honorable Mutati further stated that, globally the United States lifting up the interest rate is having an impact on the global borrowing cost which is affecting the performance of our bond. He stated that this is not only affecting Zambia but also common for the emerging markets and developing economies.
In his closing remarks, Honorable Mutati urged the private sector to assist the government in order to meet the budgeted revenue and enhancing the tax compliance. He also stated the in 2019 the waves are going to be high, therefore the nation needs to remain steadfast and ensure that the limited resources the nation can generate should respond to growing the economy in order to avoid challenges. He further assured the audience that the government will ensure priority is put to expenditure in infrastructure that is productive and aligned to oiling the movement of the economy.
Closing remarks by Jason Kazilimani – CEO KPMG who thanked all the distinguished guests for attending the 2019 KPMG budget discussion.