Friday, December 05, 2008

Form task force to deal with global economic crisis, advises Sichinga

Form task force to deal with global economic crisis, advises Sichinga
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday, December 05, 2008 11:50:42 PM

ZAMBIA should constitute a Task Force to deal with effects of the current global economic crisis unlike seeking help from another country that is equally facing similar challenges, economic consultant Bob Sichinga has advised.

Commenting on recent requests by President Rupiah Banda for Nigeria to help Zambia deal with the impacts of the current global economic crisis which has seen the country's mining sector affected on account of declining metal prices, Sichinga said Zambia had enough manpower to devise a plan of mitigating the impact.

Sichinga said there was need for domestic policy response to the current challenges the country was facing as a result of the global economic problem.

He further said there was also need to ensure efficient delivery of services by the government.

Sichinga, however, acknowledged that Nigeria had over the years developed its local economy and was in much stronger position to deal with the effects of the current global crisis than Zambia.

President Banda, on his first foreign trip since he came into power requested for Nigeria's assistance to tackle effects of the global economic crisis on Zambia's economy.

“I don't think Nigeria has any particular solutions to which we as Zambia can pick any new ideas from. What I would like to acknowledge though is the country needs a strategy to address the global financial crunch,” Sichinga said. “Zambia needs to address reduced earnings from copper due to declining copper prices.”

And Sichinga said the immediate challenge facing the country right now was to manage the exchange rate regime which has seen the local currency continuously collapse against major convertible currencies.

“Zambia needs to address this dual challenge of deteriorating exchange rate while at the same time, allowing the current foreign exchange control regime continue because right now the Bank of Zambia has been repeating that they are going to introduce measures to control the flow and outflow of foreign currency. I think they are mistaken,” Sichinga said.

“There is no single country in the world where you can do just as you like. There is need to manage the investments in the country and how that money gets re-externalised. I am not advocating that movement of foreign currency should be restricted.”

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