At a press briefing held earlier today, the Honorable Minister of Finance Mrs Margaret D Mwanakatwe presented a mid year economic brief of the economy Highlights include:
- The annual projection of the revised growth of above 4 percent remains feasible as real sector indicators show a rise in economic activity in the first half of 2018.
- Preliminary estimates for revenues and grants in the first half of 2018 amounted to K25.07 and were broadly in line with the period projections.
- Total expenditure (including amortization) for the first half of 2018 amounted to K39.6 billion, against the budgeted K34.19 billion. The major components which were above target were interest payments by 43.2 percent and capital expenditure by 65 percent.
- Inflation remained within the target range of 6-8 percent closing the period at 7.4 percent down from the May rate of 7.8%. For the rest of the year, the expectation is that inflation will remain within the programmed target.
- The Kwacha remained relatively stable against the major trading currencies during the first half of the year, trading at an average of K9.93 per US$.
Trade deficit during the first five months of 2018 continued being positive with a surplus of K245.4 Million recorded in May 2018
- The reserve position as at end June 2018 was US$1.82 billion.
- The stock of external debt as at end of first quarter was US $9.37 billion. The slight increase in the debt stock was on account of disbursements during the review period.
As at June 2018, Government paid US$161.3 Million in external debt service.
Total guaranteed debt was US$2.7 billion, of which US$1.21 billion had been drawn against the principal amount.
The stock of domestic debt as at end June 2018 was K51.86 billion.
- Domestic arrears in the first quarter 2018 increased to K13.91billion from K12.77 billion due to a rise in arrears related to roads and other RDCs.
The pace of arrears accumulation is a source of concern to the Government and commitment controls are being strengthened to avoid accumulation in RDCs.
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