Halfway into the first month of 2015, here are the key stories and events you need to know from this past week:
Fuel pump prices reduced
The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has reduced the pump price of petroleum products by K2.29 for petrol; K2.59 for diesel; and K2.08 for kerosene, which translates into 23.13%, 28.22% and 30.76%, respectively. In a statement made available to the media, ERB said that the wholesale prices of petroleum products have been reduced by 35.93%, effective midnight 16th January 2015. Click hyperlink to read the rest. (Source: Lusaka Times)
2014 has been a bit of a rollercoaster year for Zambia. The country lost President Michael Chilufya Sata to illness a few days after celebrating its 50th year of existence. The consumer was under tremendous pressure as the effects of a weaker Kwacha took hold over the course of the year.
Bank of Zambia raises policy rate by 50 basis points
The central bank raised the policy rate by 50 basis points to 12.5% until their next monetary policy committee meeting on 8th February 2015. They cited elevated inflationary pressures likely to last into the beginning of 2015 and material deterioration of the external sector (Balance of Payments deficit of $123.2 million in Q3 compared to a surplus of US $740 million in Q2) relative to conditions in August i.e. at their previous meeting. I’m pretty sure uncertainty over presidential elections was also baked into their decision but they didn’t mention it directly!
2014 has been very tough on the wallets and purses of people in Zambia. It started out with the prices of talk-time and clear-beer both being raised in line with pronouncements in the 2014 National Budget. To add insult to injury, the Kwacha then experienced an aggressive weakening against major global currencies between February and June this year:
African Development Bank (AFDB) president pays Zambia a visit
African Development Bank (AFDB) president Donald Kaberuka was in Zambia last week to inspect the ongoing works on a few of the diverse projects that the bank has had a role in funding. The project sectors rang from agriculture to infrastructure.
Zambia Sugar posted a net profit of K127.8m in financial year 2013 which was down 9.4% year over year:
Trying to decipher this puzzle that is Zambia by using a variety of publicly available data (structured and unstructured) in conjunction with my own skill/experience. * * *