CSOs call for quick response to effects of subsidy removal

Zambia Daily Mail, December 20, 2013

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) have called for a quick implementation of policies that will respond to negative effects resulting from the removal of fuel subsidy.

CSOs group representative Chilufya Tayali said Government should look for additional measures to compensate the poor households for the losses they have suffered as a result of the inflationary pressure emanating from the subsidy removal.

Mr Tayali said in Lusaka yesterday when CSOs presented their findings of the study they undertook on the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on the Zambian economy.

“There is an urgent need for policy response to the negative effects that the removal of fuel subsidy had in the economy,” he said.

Mr Tayali said Government should ensure that the safety nets that were in the 2014 national budget statement are urgently implemented.

He said fuel subsidies tend to reduce public sector investments and encourage excessive fuel consumption resulting in government expenditures on subsidies exerting pressure on the balance of payments of fuel-importing countries.

Mr Tayali, however, said there was an omission in terms of awareness raising and seeking of buy-in from stakeholders before the reforms were introduced.

He said most stakeholders are still bitter about the development and in the dark about the positive effects arising from the issue.

“Civil society organisations can play a more meaningful role in ensuring that stakeholders appreciate the need for the reforms and how best they can manage the situation,” Mr Tayali said.

And Mr Tayali said there is need to expand the fiscal policy to ensure that economic growth is enhanced.

He said such a policy would compensate for the loss in gross domestic product that would arise from a decrease in consumption by households, which also affected business performance.

The study was done by the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ), Consumer Unit Trusts (CUTS), the Zambian Voice and the Agricultural Consultative Forum.

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