Robin Sharma, Deputy Mission Director of USAID/Zambia, delivered remarks at the National Symposium on the 2023 Economic Performance and 2024 Budget & Economic Outlook organized by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.
Sharma commended the Zambian government for fostering transparency and collaboration in addressing economic challenges.
The U.S. government, as a proud partner, co-sponsored the Economic Symposium and supports various stakeholder engagement platforms.
Acknowledging the Zambian government’s achievements in steering the economy, Sharma highlighted the U.S. government’s commitment to assisting in meeting IMF program benchmarks and macro-economic targets.
Sharma applauded the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) for surpassing the K100 billion mark in revenue collection in 2023, emphasizing its historical significance.
He expressed support for the Zambian government’s efforts in debt restructuring and the passing of the Debt Management Act (DMA).
USAID is actively involved in initiatives to strengthen public financial management, domestic revenue mobilization, tax policy, and fiscal decentralization.
The organization supports the ZRA in revising its operating model and commends the government’s efforts in addressing tax arrears and enhancing revenue collections.
Sharma urged a focus on integrity, transparency, and accountability, emphasizing the critical role these play in delivering public services outlined in the 2024 national budget.
He encouraged stakeholders to support the effective rollout of the electronic government procurement (eGP) system and strengthen public finance management at the local government level.
The Deputy Mission Director expressed USAID’s commitment to working with the Zambian government beyond financial assistance, emphasizing strategic partnerships, knowledge sharing, and joint problem-solving for sustainable development.
He highlighted specific U.S. investments, including the $250 million Zambia – Lobito Development Corridor, aimed at improving Zambia’s access to western markets.
Sharma concluded by expressing readiness to continue supporting Zambia’s economic growth, highlighting the importance of addressing corruption, streamlining regulations, and promoting a business environment conducive to private sector investment.