FINANCE minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu says underdeveloped countries are finding it difficult to match the technological development of the advanced world.
Opening the 2019 Annual Business Conference at Avani Victoria Falls Hotel in Livingstone yesterday, Dr Ng’andu said the cost of doing business in Africa is high and needs to be addressed coupled with the several barriers that African countries encounter which may affect growth.
“The leadership of the new world is faced with two choices: to stand by and watch the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, or to build a system that eventually results in the distribution of the world’s wealth according to the concept of globalisation, not only in the use of resources but also in their distribution,” Dr Ng’andu said, in a speech read for him by Ministry of Finance controller of internal audit Joyce Sundano. “I hope that the discussions at this conference, that will take place in the next three days, will make a substantial contribution to the best practical ways and means of promoting professionalism in business. Given the paramount importance of good governance, it is my sincere wish that this conference will bring out exemplary good governance practices and in so doing businessmen and women will be motivated to pursue business goals proactively.”
Dr Ng’andu said, “we are living in a world where the rate of scientific development doubles every second year, and underdeveloped countries are finding it difficult to match the technological development of the advanced world.”
“The past decade has witnessed an adverse movement; the gap widened in a way that contradicts the principle of globalisation,” he said. “Additionally, the cost of doing business in Africa is high and needs to be addressed coupled with the several barriers that African countries encounter which may affect growth. There is a growing need to improve market access for African goods, increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and making Africa a tourism destination.”
Dr Ng’andu said it was for that reason that the government established the Smart Zambia Institute to ensure that the country fully migrated towards electronic services such as electronic payslips, e-Cabinet, shared services, the mineral portal and champion the implementation of ICT in order to contribute to the socio-economic development for the people of Zambia.
He said the government was also investing in infrastructure development to promote accelerated sustainable development and inclusive growth.
Dr Ng’andu said this was being implemented through the construction of new, and expansion of existing airports; rail; and road infrastructure to ensure that Zambia was land linked and became a true regional hub in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions.
Dr Ng’andu reminded the gathering that he would be presenting the 2020 national budget in the next few weeks.
“And I wish to remind the business community and the public on the need to respond to governments call for tax and non-tax proposals for the 2020 budget and the 2020-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework,” he said. “We look forward to more engagements and cooperation with both the public and private sectors during the remaining quarters of 2019.”
The Annual Business Conference (ABC) is a joint initiative by the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Dr Ng’andu said the ABC provided an opportunity to introspect on the progress made individually and collectively and to learn from each other the current trends in the business environment in order to adopt modern, dynamic, and innovative ways of doing things.
He said the government acknowledged the important role that professional accountancy bodies play in the business environment through the provision of professionals that contribute positively to the nation’s socio- economic development.
“The role of the accountancy professionals is critical in lending credibility to financial market transactions,” Dr Ng’andu said. “Market participants, investors and shareholders look up to you for high quality information, which ensures market discipline and fosters confidence of various stakeholders. It is your responsibility to ensure that our corporate entities do indeed conform to high governance standards.”
He said the government envisioned a Zambia that was more industrious, prosperous, peaceful, stable, united, democratic and an inclusive society.
“And this cannot be achieved without the participation of professional bodies such as ZICA, ACCA, CIMA and many more…” said Dr Ng’andu.