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By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Center for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) Researcher Bright Chizonde has called on government to halt it’s decision to relaunch Zambia Airways.
Mr Chizonde said the current macroeconomic and fiscal position is not allowing for the relaunch of Zambia Airways.
He said Government should instead harness the potential of the private sector through policy interventions in order to improve Zambia’s connectivity to the rest of the world.
Mr Chizonde said that Government’s non-discretionary expenditure, which comprises personnel emoluments and debt servicing, is currently at 50.1% and 40% respectively, giving a total of 90.1% of the annual budget as of 2019.
He said this leaves the discretionary expenditure amount of about 9.9% of the annual budget.
Mr Chizonde urged government to focus on implementing measures aimed at restoring debt sustainability.
“It is no longer a debate that Zambia’s debt stock is negatively affecting macroeconomic stability, government budgeting and the ability of government to deliver critical social services such as health and education.
“Taking on more public investment, over and above the US$ 1 billion spent on upgrading airport infrastructure, through launching a national airline is excessive in the current environment’’, he said.
Mr Chizonde said there is need for serious austerity and fiscal consolidation if Zambia is to achieve debt sustainability.
The Center for Trade Policy and Development recently concluded a follow-up study on government’s decision to relaunch Zambia Airways. Through an assessment of the proposed business model for Zambia Airways and an analysis of the financing options for the airline, it has been established that the relaunch of Zambia Airways will add to the unsustainability of Zambia’s Public debt.