Friday, January 02, 2009

(DAILY MAIL) Zambias NTEs soar to dollar 900m

Zambias NTEs soar to dollar 900m
By NKOLE CHITALA

ZAMBIA’s non traditional exports (NTEs) are projected to reach US$900 million this year, from efforts of its diversification from over dependence on copper earnings, amidst a slump in metal prices due to the global financial crisis. Bank of Zambia Governor Caleb Fundanga said NTEs were expected to reach US$900 million against the US$1 billion projected earlier.

He said although the central had hoped the sector to hit US$1 billion, it would at least reach US$900 million. Zambia has been on a European Union-supported Export Development Programme to diversify its export since the mid 1990s, driven by the Export Board of Zambia, (EBZ) which was formed in 1987 through an Act of Parliament made in 1985 and amended in 1994.

NTEs have been slowly growing and contributed about 30 per cent of NTEs two years ago before the boom in copper prices made metal exports grow substantially again.

The EBZ is now part of the Zambia Development Agency.

Dr Fundanga said already the NTEs sector had grown to reach the value exceeding the
total value of exports recorded in 2000 which was about US$900 million.

Dr Fundanga said Government should continue to put in place policies that would encourage production in other sectors such as uranium and oil on which Zambia could anchor its national development.

Meanwhile Zambia is likely to have a sovereign credit rating next year, BoZ has said.

And BoZ has projected that Non Traditional Exports (NTEs) would reach US$900 million by the end of this year from about US$700 million last years.

BoZ Governor Caleb Fundanga said Zambia could be rated once the national budget was presented next year.

Dr Fundanga said the delay in rating Zambia was mainly due to unfortunate situations the country had found itself in over the last few months of the year.

“Once the Minister of Finance and National Planning is done with the budget, one of the issues to be focused on is ensuring that the country is rated,’’ he said.

He was speaking during the cultural remodeling programme aired, on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday night organised by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.

Dr Fundanga also explained that the process of the credit rating had started well with Government selecting J.P Morgan to provide financial advisory services and prepare a detailed analysis for consideration.

“But you know we had to go to elections so everything was delayed because of the unfortunate situation the country found itself in,” he said.

The credit rating is envisaged to open up the country to global financial markets.

A sovereign rating is an assessment of the risk and credit worthiness of a country and it is used as a reference point by would-be investors.

In February, expressions of interest were advertised for a rating agency in the media and closed on March 14, 2008.

Six companies submitted their bids and were evaluated on March 31, 2008.

Two companies, J.P Morgan and Citi Group were short listed and requested to submit their financial bids by June 30, 2008.

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