Author:John Weeks
Subject: Macroeconomic Policies
" /> Abstract: During 2005-2006, appreciation of the Kwacha, Zambia’s currency, had a significant negative impact on public income. This exchange-rate effect received little notice in the debate over macroeconomic policy. The appreciation reduced fiscal space largely because of binding IMF conditionalities on monetary polices. The fiscal effect had two major revenue components: a fall in the domestic-currency income equivalent of official development assistance and a fall in trade taxes. In 2005, the negative effect on the public budget of the Kwacha appreciation was largely balanced by the positive impact on reducing external debt service. This positive impact ended, however, with debt relief and was almost zero after 2005. Obviously, these revenue effects, though little noticed, had negative implications for Zambia’s ability to achieve the MDGs. The Zambia experience underscores some important general lessons. It indicates, for example, the necessity to coordinate fiscal, monetary and exchange-rate policy in order to achieve sustained growth, employment generation and poverty reduction. Most important, this experience is also a clear example of the dysfunctional consequences of having low-inflation targets rule monetary policy. In the context of currency appreciation, setting limits on the domestic money supply prevents effective exchange-rate management. This necessarily creates, as a by-product, larger fiscal deficits and, consequently, more public borrowing. And these negative fiscal consequences could significantly constrict the resources that some developing countries need to achieve the MDGs.

keywords: The Reduction of Fiscal Space in Zambia—Dutch Disease and Tight-Money Conditionalities
Date Publication: 01/30/2008 (All day)
Type/Issue: Research Report / 14
Language: English