By Florence Banda-Muleya

As the Honourable Minister of Finance read out the 2017 budget speech on 11th November, he echoed the theme Restoring Fiscal Fitness for Sustained Inclusive Growth and Development several times. What does fiscal fitness mean for government budgets, and how can Government achieve it in 2017?

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The Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) has welcomed the Government’s 2017 budget, which it says is realistic in the face of current challenging economic conditions. Overall, the budget presents some conservative and more realistic targets such as  expected economic growth, job creation and inflation  ZIPAR also welcome the Government’s intention to “develop, publish and implement a robust medium term debt management strategy in 2017”.

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In recent days, there has been some confusion about inflation in Zambia. On 27th October 2016, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) announced a 6.4 percentage-point drop in the annual rate of inflation from 18.9% in September to 12.5% in October.

Some commentators have interpreted the drop in the annual rate of inflation as a fall in actual prices. Ordinary Zambians have been confused because when they go to the shops they don’t see falling prices. Far from it, they see prices still going up.

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By Felix Mwenge

The 2015 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey report has revealed that the gap between the rich and the poor in Zambia is widening. Zambia’s Gini coefficient now stands at 0.69 up from 0.60 in 2010; much higher than the African average of approximately 0.43.

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A new report highlights the importance of "Multidimensional poverty as a basis for formulating poverty reduction policies".

Lack of access to clean Energy and secondary school education attainment remained part of the biggest contributors to acute poverty in Zambia in 2014.

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The impact of the recent Zambian economic slowdown on both businesses and the public is revealed for the first time in research commissioned by the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) as part of its flagship More and Better Jobs project.

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