Zambia plans to impose a two-year freeze on wages and hiring in the civil service, as the government targets above seven percent growth next year, the finance minister said Friday.

Tabling a $8.1 billion budget for 2014, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said objectives next year were to see employment grow by 200,000 jobs, and inflation capped at 6.5 percent.

The public sector freeze was to free up fiscal space for spending on basic social services and infrastructure investment, the minister said.

He said production in the crucial copper mining sector increased by 13.2 per cent in the first half of the year to over 374,000 metric tones compared to same period in 2012.

"On the basis of this performance, copper production from large scale mines is projected to exceed last year’s production levels," he said.

The year had seen lower commodity prices due to "sluggish growth" in the world economy, with a fall in the copper price, he said.

The International Monetary Fund predicts Zambia will reach six percent GDP growth this year.

Last year, growth was 7.0 percent.