ECONOMIST Trevor Hambayi says COVID-19 made Zambia’s economy contract, adding that poverty levels also increased.

Speaking in an interview, Hambayi observed that the pandemic also caused a general reduction in revenue for all companies, among other impacts.

“Our economy contracted. We were in a recession where we had a minus 3.2 percent GDP drop and that was the first indication of what impact the economy has. So in general speaking, if we directly speak to the impact, what we found was the general reduction in revenue for all the companies. The second aspect is we did find a lot of companies that downsized in terms of employees, so they actually lost the employees. Then the third aspect [was] where the companies actually closed down and this was the impact toward the economy. If you look at economic statistics around employment, you will find that our employment levels dropped and secondary our poverty levels have also increased. That there are more people living in extreme poverty and this has gone up to around 64 percent from 56 percent, this was a direct impact of Covid,” said Hambayi.

“In essence what we did find was that the other countries were trying to be able to make a gain to a game-pack by putting together what we call stimulus packages which is to stimulate the economy by increasing the liquidity. We tried doing the same thing under the Bank of Zambia medium-term facility, where the Bank of Zambia put $500 million to try and support the private sector to be able to recover from this and that is generally what you do find. But where we have gotten, we still haven’t recovered to a point of pre-Covid GDP growth, we have not gotten to that point yet. We are still dealing with the impact of Covid and we have seen some time before we recovered to a pre-Covid GDP growth.”