LUSAKA, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Bank of Zambia (BoZ), the country's central bank, on Wednesday retained its benchmark lending rate at 9.0 percent for the fourth time this year.
Denny Kalyalya, BoZ Governor who chaired the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Monday and Tuesday said the inflation was projected to maintain a downward trend.
He told reporters at a press briefing that the MPC also took into consideration the progress made in the country's debt restructuring under the G20 Common Framework that paved the way for the approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) extended credit facility in August this year.
The IMF approval, he said, has been followed up by active discussions with the country's Official Creditor Committee as well as the Eurobond creditors. "This is expected to lead to the conclusion of debt restructuring negotiations over the first half of 2023 with a significant positive impact to the budget, market sentiments, and mitigate some of the identified upside risk to the inflation outlook," he said.
While acknowledging that the economy has started picking up after recording a contraction in 2020, the central bank chief noted that the growth rate was not sufficient.
He, however, said that the deterioration in the global economic environment which has affected copper prices, export earnings, and capital inflows have exerted pressure on the exchange rate which will contribute to elevated projected inflation.
According to him, the inflation rate was expected to average 11.3 percent and 8.5 percent in 2022 and 2023, respectively, and was expected to further recede to an average of 7.9 percent in 2024.