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Zambia overspent 2015 budget plan by $1.4 bln: Finance minister
09/12/2015 00:00:00
by Reuters
 
Zambia budget review ... Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda
 
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LUSAKA: Zambia overspent its 2015 budget plan by 14.9 billion kwacha ($1.4 billion) due to emergency electricity purchases, increased costs of importing fuel and a sharp depreciation of the kwacha, its finance minister said on Wednesday.

Zambia is facing its toughest economic challenge in a decade as weak commodity prices, electricity shortages and an economic slowdown in China hit growth in Africa's second-largest copper producer, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

The kwacha has fallen over 40 percent against the dollar in 2015, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"The depreciation of the kwacha against major currencies meant that the government had to spend more than the budgeted amount on items such as debt service," Alexander Chikwanda told lawmakers.

The weaker kwacha also led to "significant shortfalls in the re-financing of fuel importation," he said.

Persistent dry weather conditions have caused an unprecedented shortfall in the supply of electricity, most of which is generated from a hydropower plant.

"This has necessitated the importation of emergency electricity at a relatively higher cost," Chikwanda said.

The World Bank warned that tough action will be required in 2016 to curb runaway expenditure, double-digit inflation and growing twin deficits.

 



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