The Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry has attributed Zambia’s improved rating on the ease of doing business to the favourable business environment reforms government is undertaking.

But the World bank global educators group says Zambia needs to improve on the aspect of insolvency and its electricity supply systems if the country is to thrive in cross boarder trade, saying electricity was an essential component in doing business.

Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka today, Ministry of Commerce Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame said the country had made significant improvements in creating a business friendly environment, hence being ranked in the top 10 global reformers.

“On October 31st, 2017, the 2018 doing business report was launched and as you know this is a report that looks at how countries in the world are doing in terms of doing business and for Zambia it was very good because we have made significant improvements in the area of trade and we are now ranked in the top 10 global reformers of the world, those that have made significant improvements in terms of business regulation. We also made this significant improvement, we moved from 98 to now we are at 85 and that puts us 6th in Africa 4th in COMESA and 4th in SADC and I think as a government we are really pleased that we could have made these improvements and this didn’t happen by accident but really it’s because of the business environment reforms that we are undertaking as a country in various areas,” said Siame.

“We have a number of agencies that are implementing a number of reforms that affect the way business is done in Zambia and all these working together were able to at least, make significant improvements in a number of reforms. We also had improvements in terms of taxes because paying used to be done manually but now that everything is done online, all the taxes are done online. So this reform is one of the major reforms which was also accounted as a key reform for Zambia.

Meanwhile, World Bank global educators group acting director Rita Ramalho said there were a number of areas in which Zambia needed to improve.

“There are a few areas that Zambia doesn’t perform as well and one of them is an area that was actually recently reformed then there was a significant improvement but there is still a lot that needs to be done and this is in the area of trading across boarders, there is still room for improvement. Then the other area is the aspect of resolving insolvency but then I am happy to hear just a few minutes ago that there is an insolvency Act that is going to Parliament, so hopefully that would contribute towards getting Zambia improving that particular area. And another area that we would also classify probably as the third area which actually makes sense and would be very useful for Zambia to improve, is getting electricity and getting rid of the power outage problems. Though I also heard recently that the frequency of power outages has become less of a problem. Electricity is crucial for businesses to be able to operate, to have a reliable and consistent supply of electricity,” said Ramalho.

“So about those three areas at least as I was informed this morning that there is an action of improvement in two areas. There is a variation for the country in terms of job creation, so probably you may need trading across boarders, it’s very good for the country to be getting goods in and out of both for exports and import and so getting electricity is very fundamental for the country to succeed in business. So those are some of the efforts that we think Zambia needs to make to improve on its doing business aspect, otherwise the progress made so far is commendable.”