The International Monetary Fund has distanced itself from media reports that it has refused to agree on an economic recovery programme with Zambia owing to the government’s indiscipline with expenditure.
The Post Newspaper this week reported that the IMF is currently not ready for any programme to help restore the battered economy owing to the government’s indiscipline with expenditure.
The report quoted IMF deputy director for the African department David Owen after concluding his two-day consultative meetings with top government officials and key stakeholders in the country as part of the ongoing engagement between Zambia and the Fund.
The sources said Owen, during his meeting with civil society, was concerned that the Zambian economy had continued to weaken and any remedial measures to be agreed between the government and the IMF could not hold at the moment owing to the lack of credibility of Zambia’s Treasury as the country had consistently overspent with no respect for the budgeting process.
But the IMF yesterday issued a statement denying the report and described it as false.
“In response to recent media reports, David Owen, Deputy Director, African Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), today issued the following statement: “I recently visited Lusaka as part of our engagement with Zambia. During the visit, I met with government, Bank of Zambia, private sector and civil society organization (CSO) representatives,” Mr Owen said.
He said reports in the media suggesting that he made comments during the CSO meeting about preconditions for an IMF program for Zambia and the performance of the country’s economic team are false.
“At my meeting with CSO representatives, I was mainly interested in hearing their views and the discussion centered on how best to address the economic challenges that Zambia is facing,” he said.
“As we have said before, the IMF is committed to continuing its dialogue with the authorities on their policy responses to the current macroeconomic challenges facing the country. We look forward to further productive discussions with the Zambian authorities and other stakeholders in the period ahead.”