Zambia on March 27 announced a series of measures to deal with the economic impact of COVID-19. The country has decided to suspend its 5pc import duties on the metal concentrates like copper and cobalt to ease pressure on producers. The country has also decided to do away with the export duty on precious metals to help their economy tide over the situation.
In a statement issued, the Zambian finance minister Bwalya Ng’andu states COVID-19 has disrupted international trade in terms of volumes as well as prices. In wake of this situation, economic growth rate was also revised to 2pc in 2020 from the earlier estimate of 3.2pc announced by the minister in his budget address.
Zambia is one of the major producers of copper. The COVID-19 outbreak has also hurt copper prices, which have declined by 23pc to $4,754/mt on March 25, from $6,165/mt in Jan 2020. With this fall in prices, the country’s copper export earnings are likely to decline by over $1bn in 2020, according to the statement.
The 5pc copper import tax was levied in 2019 to keep a greater share of mineral resource profits for the country and tackle debt. The imports of copper in the country dropped to 119,962mt in 2019, from 628,361mt in 2018, according to Davis Index analysis.