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Bank of Zambia Implements New Approach to Government Bonds

The Bank of Zambia (BOZ) has strategically undertaken subtle yet significant modifications in the Government Securities as part of its efforts to navigate the complexities of the local bond market. 

Introducing a fresh formula for maturities, this decision comes in light of impending bond payments, with approximately USD 10 billion set to mature soon.

Zambia’s total bond holding portfolio, currently valued at around K200+ billion, forms a substantial part of the nation’s debt instrument. 

The adjustments made by BOZ are viewed as a decisive policy measure in the realm of debt restructuring, seeking to exert moderated control to alleviate fiscal pressures, particularly in the upcoming year.

Kelvin Chisanga, an Economic Analyst, emphasized the novelty of these changes, noting that such swift alterations in banking policies are uncommon. 

The move, he suggests, may serve as a necessary evil in the broader context of managing the national budget and debt.

Under the new model implemented by the central bank, bonds will no longer be issued with either a premium or discount. The face value, for instance, set at K100, will result in a payout of the same K100. 

While this approach may alter the dynamics of the bidding process, it aims to bring a level of consistency and credibility to the national budget implementation process, providing a standardized methodology for debt management.

Crucially, the highest yield accepted during the bidding process will determine the yield rate for all successful bids. In instances of oversubscription, where multiple bids compete, the highest accepted rate takes precedence, ensuring a fair and competitive environment within the bond market.

Mr. Chisanga explained that despite the complexity of assessing the positive impact, especially concerning competitiveness in the bond market, the new approach aligns with the principle of accepting the lowest rates in cases of oversubscription, while attempting to exclude higher rates.

The BOZ’s decision to implement this modified formula reflects a proactive stance in adapting to market dynamics and maintaining fiscal stability. 

As stakeholders analyze the potential implications of these changes, it remains to be seen how this novel approach will influence the landscape of Zambia’s financial markets in the coming months.

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