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Civil Society for Poverty Reduction - October 2001

3.8 Macroeconomics
The Macroeconomics discussion took into consideration all the cross-cutting issues such as gender, environment, and HIV/AIDS. It was recognised that in view of the severe poverty levels in Zambia, specific interventions, with immediate impact on the socio-economic welfare of Zambians should be implemented; such as:

  1. Government should clear its public/domestic debt related to suppliers. It was generally agreed that this would immediately place money into the hands of these business-persons who would in turn revamp their business activities.

  2. Government should meet its obligation to pay outstanding pensions, severance and retrenchment packages to former parastatal and government workers. The effect of this move, is that it would have the immediate impact of reducing the poverty levels of these former workers and their families.

  3. The forum considered the need to restructure government institutions by streamlining certain government operations to avoid duplicity.

  4. Government should seriously address the national debt issue. Civil society specifically demanded that government should adopt the debt mechanism as proposed by Jubilee Zambia. Additionally, it was proposed that all new debt procurement should involve the broader participation of all stakeholders in terms of understanding - what the money was being borrowed for? At what interest rate and how is it to be utilised?

  5. The forum applauded Government's intentions to re-introduce a Planning Unit within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, however, it was agreed that the planning process should be inclusive and bring on board other stakeholders' concerns. This was discussed recognising the need for medium and long term planning within government.

  6. Civil society, were in agreement with government that export-led growth was necessary particularly in view of the regional integration efforts that are currently in place. It was also underscored that capacity building of the local business persons was critical in improving the supply capacity and fully exploit market access as presented by African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well as the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement.

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