IMF Africa Director Antoinette Sayeh
IMF Africa Director Antoinette Sayeh

The International Monetary Fund has ruled out any possibilities of entering into an economic and reform programme with Zambia until after the August 11 elections.

IMF Director of the African Department Antoinette Sayeh told Journalists at the IMF Headquarters in Washington D.C on the sidelines of the Springs Meetings on Friday that the Fund does not see the full preparation of that program until the fourth quarter of 2016 which is after the elections in Zambia.

The Zambian Government has approached the IMF for a bailout believed to be in the region of US$1 billion mainly for balance of payment support.

President Edgar Lungu had hoped that the IMF programme would kick-in as early as April but his team of technocrats at the Ministry of Finance proposed that the tough austerity measures that come in with the programme could be implemented after the elections.

The IMF staff mission that visited Lusaka last month however turned down that request.

And Ms. Sayeh confirmed during the press briefing that the Zambian government has approached the IMF for possible lending.

“Zambia has also indicated to us that they would certainly be interested in discussing and pursuing an IMF supported program and we remain open to beginning those discussions. Of course, and we have in the context of these Spring Meetings had our usual discussions that we do with all country authorities including Zambia,” Ms Sayeh said.

She added, “And we expect that those preparatory discussions will be a good underpinning for ultimately preparing a program that the Zambians would want to take forward, but we don’t see the full preparation of that program until the fourth quarter of this year, after the elections in Zambia.”

Asked on whether borrowing externally will be the best option for Zambia and the possibilities of Zambia not falling into another death trap, Ms Sayeh said the IMF is concerned about Zambia’s borrowing.

“We certainly have our own concerns about borrowing and too much borrowing. Zambia of course borrowed on the issued sovereign bonds at high rates.”

“The proceeds of those bonds were used to finance some infrastructure, but also to cover the regular budget deficit including current expenditure and in light of the expense of that financing that was certainly not the best use of very expensive financing,” she said.

“And our advice to the Zambians has been to really quickly work to put in place measures to reign in the huge fiscal deficit that is underpinning that borrowing and to adjust its spending pattern which is heavily driven also by current spending including the wage bill and to really work towards containing the deficit with a view to reducing its borrowing requirements.”

Ms Sayeh said that is the only way to reduce the borrowing requirements and to contain the deficit and to make sure that the deficit that needed to carry forward for development purposes are used to the best possible needs with high quality investments.

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77 COMMENTS

    • Zambia does not need IMF prescription to unlock it’s development path. I insist, no developing country that has taken its development agenda under IMF prescription has recorded recovery or measurable economic prosperity. Our problems are not insurmountable to start falling for toxic IMF medicine. This a narrative we can espoused to detail and prove that IMF has never done magic for developing nations.

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    • THIS IS A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN THE PF GOVERNMENT BY THE IMF. PF SUPPORTERS SHOULD FEEL ASHAMED FOR THE REJECTION. THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA SHOULD TAKE THIS AS A STRONG MESSAGE NOT TO TRUST THE INCOMPETENT AND IRRESPONSIBLE PF GOVERNMENT. IT’S A LOUD AND CLEAR MESSAGE TO ZAMBIANS TO VOTE OUT THE RECKLESS PF GOVERNMENT.

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    • Ba senior citizen if Zambia does not need IMF, why is outgoing president Lungu approaching them for a loan?

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    • IMF decision is actually in the interest of the country. How do you continue lending money to a government that has no capacity to manage resources.

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    • “The proceeds of those bonds were used to finance some infrastructure, but also to cover the regular budget deficit including current expenditure and in light of the expense of that financing that was certainly not the best use of very expensive financing”.
      Honestly, how do you borrow at such a high price to fund current expenditure? Unless there`s something seriously wrong with Zambians, I don`t see anybody with a good functioning brain voting for PF.

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    • Ba Lsk Times you’ve started to remove my comments, I was one of the first to comment on this topic but alas you’ve been swayed by some UPND cadre that no-doubt emailed you to complain. Even without the use of swear words we are making UPND realise that they are on a wrong path of hate, sometimes the truth hurts.
      So much for freedom of expression!

      IMF has no known record of doing good in Africa, IMF are the proponents of privatisation that made HH a millionaire, one day we will get justice and have our funds returned to us. PF govt will manage without money from Shylock.

      2016 ECL nafuti

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    • If one is entirely honest and reads this report from this IMF official Ms Sadyeh (Francophone favouritism in IMF is laughably clear to see), the mention of the wage bill indicates that the PF govt has employed many civil servants which was always in line with the agenda of providing more jobs for Zambians, under PF govt employees have enjoyed better pay and conditions of service than ever before. Despite Shylock and his carrot stick I believe the PF govt serves Zambians first. PF govt has not been squandering the money but using it on visible projects that benefit all Zambians…

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    • To those who are saying Zambia does not need IMF, why did Zambia go bowl in hand to the IMF to ask for assistance? PF has turned Zambia into a Banana Republic. How sad!

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  1. This is good news. The people of Zambia must know that whoever wins the elections will have to lead the nation through tough waters. This will be achieved under tough austerity measures but we will prevail. We made it through the Kaunda days, this bailout is a child’s picnic. As PF we are not afraid to let the people know that Zambia is going through tough times and that a bailout may be coming this year. Do not be cheated by dimwits like Hakainde, an Under-5 farm boy with money he can’t account for his coins, having betrayed the entire nation for 30 pieces of silver. We have chosen to maintain the PF under Edgar Lungu whether you like it or not.

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    • I agree. President mwanawasa did it wisely, at the onset of a world recession for that matter.

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    • The tough waters caused by pf’s recklessness and clueless leadership. Only a clueless gvt spends beyond its means. PF gvt found huge reserves in the CB and an economy booming with high copper prices. Yet they squandered it all.

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  2. As a country finding our own feet would be the best platform. We are dealing with traitors to the motherland in Saleh. Though I doubt Zambian economists even know how to use a great opportunity such as is presented. No funny laws should be attached to the lending.

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    • come on now, u kbow these guys IMF are after establishing gay rights in Zambia, climate change, and eventually one world currency

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    • @ Danielkazeze, how exactly is the IMF trying to establish climate change in Zambia?

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    • You call them traitors when it`s your government that went to ask for money?

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  3. After borrowing so much and presiding over some of the highest copper prices, Zambia is now bankrupt. What a clueless bunch these PF are.
    This should be a warning to zambians, vote wisely in August or else you will end up owing 40 billion US with nothing to show but the most expensive roads in the world.

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  4. But before a bail out from IMF is done in the fourth quarter,there must be a forensic audit over the clueless loans purported corruptly contracted & shared by these Maggots & Rats in PF.We understand most of these Maggots & Rats have become so rich just in four years time hence the deficits & vote buying going on- all in the quest to continue looting & jamesoning in hotels & abroad!

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    • That is what the PF theives are afraid of….they will do anything to remain in power to cover their stealing and continue looting.

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    • Really laughable …in our case its a death trap..even a responsible bar man will stop serving you mosi when he knows you have had too much alcohol and you have parked your car outside.

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  5. Thankyou PF for taking us back into debt. But what do you expect from MPs and ministers without so much as a simple grade 12 certificate. You have taken us back in time. Anyhow that is what happens when you have illiterate voters voting for grade 7s to run a country, its democracy.

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  6. Let the Lazy Bum Edgar & his empty tins use his brains for once…no loans in our grand childrens names this time!

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  7. I have always thought & am still convinced that it’s stup1dity to support the pf government.

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    • Bachimbiwi ba PF have over borrowed and yet most of the roads and not yet done.Look at the lsk to kitwe dua carriage has not been done in 5yrs of PF rule and yet they have borrowed in access of $10.Zambians will be shooting themselves in the foot if they vote PF.

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  8. ITS NORMAL FOR ALL FUNDS TO HOLD ANY PROGRAMMES UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTIONS YOU CAN COMFIRM EPISODES IN AFRICA EU AMERICAS AND OTHER REGIONS INCLUDING ASIA ITS VERY NORMAL

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  9. So Zambia has borrowed too much hence the high deficit disclosed IMF.
    What is so depressing,is the sovereign bonds that Zambia borrowed at a high rates. Meanwhile the nation was told the bonds were borrowed on concessional rates.
    PF government cheated Zambians now with a huge debt borrowed at a high prenium rate.
    My foot, Zambia should not continue to be led by incompetent leadership.

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    • When people were told that PF will sink this country, they shouted in unison saying PABWATO! This is now the result! It will be difficult for the country to dig itself out of the hole that PF has created through incompetent leadership! Zambians should expect harder times after the elections, especially if PF manages to rig the elections!

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  10. PF sympathisers should be ashamed of them selves!Consoling your selves that we will sail through just like in the Kaunda days is unjustified.How many times are going to go back wards?Its such a shame that Chikwanda has failed us and no one is talking about it.This is not good for our country and it’s clear pathetic front has no solutions.

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    • Fossil Chikwanda has no shame no plan he is retiring to pasture in August as he stated …disgraceful old man..I hope he reads this on his flight back from the States.

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  11. It seems this govt’s propensity to borrow is very high. Given the opportunity this govt would borrow without knowing the purpose of borrowing and sources of repayment.In the past they have borrowed expensively and spent the money on consumption rather than on investment. There is no prudent macro-management of the economy. No wonder the Fund has no vote of confidence in this current govt which does not seem to know what It wanta and what it is doing.

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    • They want to borrow $1 billion to continue subsidizing fuel, artificially pumping up the Kwacha and overpriced Infrastructure development…they honestly think IMF are that out of touch they do not what is happening in Lusaka.
      Thank god Fossil Chikwanda came back empty handed not in my grand children’s name..sorry….I hate to say this but thank you IMF!!

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  12. And ba PF accuse UPND of insulting them! If ba PF could hire somebody to translate into their kabova language what this African IMF beauty has just told them, they would be shocked at the middle finger she has thrust up theirs. If you peel off the excess diplomatic verbiage, you remove the vegetables and remain only with the meat, she said PF are stup!d *****s who do not deserve any more assistance. IMF would rather wait for the incoming govt. That’s what she said, IMF.

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  13. Hahahaha! Lungu has been rejected by even the lenders! They know he will squander the money and use it for manipulating elections or blankets and bicycles for voters. If the international community was in support of PF they would have already sent the money. But look even Norway has closed its embassy in Zambia. PF clowns wake up!

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    • They have messed up the excellent credit rating MMD left…they think the banks will lend chakolwas..really laughable Chikwanda retire!!

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  14. Where is 2020vision? Comment on this one now! You are always commenting silly things against the UPND, say something now or you want to sày the UPND has influenced Ms Antoinette Sayeh and Ms Lagarde?

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  15. The IMF is directly not indirectly telling the zambian voter to use their brains for once when voting! They are telling the Zambian citizens that they have a very irresponsible government which has been borrowing money at a very expensive rate for all the wrong reasons!

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    • You are dead right Kaputo. It the IMF can have someone in State House who will allow them to poke more than their noses into the Zambian tent, good for them. That person is HH. He is willing to undo what ECL has done in order to please his Western masters, such as returning this country to a secular state where Western values such as gayism may thrive. The West knows ECL will not allow this: he knows the story of the camel and the master. So yes, IMF are directly telling Zambians to vote for your HH. What a shame!

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  16. @jay Jay, so finally you are agreeing that HH cannot and therefore will not reduce the price of fuel but rather increase it? But have you consulted HH, for he says that he will provide free education up to university, reduce prices of mealie meal , fuel and electricity, pay more to buy farmers maize produce, employ all youths, etc etc. HH will say anything as long as it contradicts what Edgar says, never mind if it contradicts economic theory, yes even it contradicts his own profession, economics.

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    • Why do you want to pigeon hole me as an HH supporter…surely can’t we have a debate without these political slogans …with someone who wants the best for the country??

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  17. “The proceeds of those bonds were used to finance some infrastructure, but also to cover the regular budget deficit including current expenditure and in light of the expense of that financing that was certainly not the best use of very expensive financing”.
    Honestly, how do you borrow at such a price to fund current expenditure? Unless there`s something seriously wrong with Zambians, I don`t see anybody with a good functioning brain voting for PF.

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  18. I agree with the advise IMF is giving Zambia for now. However, IMF, the World Bank and The World Trade Organization are always the key culprits in making developing countries like Zambia remain in debt and poverty traps. I call them the unholy trinity, IMF is the same organization that pressured Zambia to privatize in order for us to have access to debt relief.

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    • And the same to promote the character that carried out the privatisation to his own benefit.

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    • @I’m watching u

      We go to a loan shark as a last resort and we are completely at their mercy. If they come up with demonic conditions like 100% interest calculated weekly, depending on our level of desperation we either agree or we walk away. But Zambia’s leaders hunger for personal aggrandizement is greater than the need to develop, they don’t even hesitate to append their signatures to these disagreeable agreements. So you can’t blame IMF, it’s their money. This lady is telling Lungu and his bunch of unbelievably clueless minions that the IMF is not interested any more in financing so-called infrastructure and other useless operating expenses, probably of a personal nature.

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  19. @Im watching u, you also need to be sincere enough that developing countries find themselves having to deal with the IMF because of poor economic management. Note that it is not the IMF or World Bank that has led to Zambia’s economic slump.

    Meanwhile, in case there is no other route other than IMF, you will be sad to know that no western donor will lend money until IMF says your are up for it. May be China could assist. So for now it’s IMF. Vote wisely guys, PF was spending without limit. It’s time for reality.

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    • At least your conscious is honest enough to show you up. It’s clear you understand the purpose of this is to attempt an adverse effect on the voter and you hope to benefit out of starving Zambian citizens. Shame on you.

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  20. …I hope someone like Mumbi Phiri wont come up with an excuse of opposition conniving with Seyah

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  21. Ms Sayeh is rolled out by the ugly Whites behind her to patronise us and try to interfere in our elections. We heard the thinly veiled threats of that European USA lead GROUP, SO WE KNOW WHO IS BEHIND THIS EVIL. UPND are guilty for every starving child. Vote ECL, PF if you want to defeat colonialist ambitions in Zambia.

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    • Hahaha very funny…..50 yrs of independence and you still blame the colonialists…..very funny you are not ashamed of yourselves. If you have any pride, don’t go begging with your tails between your legs for a bailout then

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    • @Patriot spot on correct, the IMF and Ms La garde in particular received a damning report which was televised on Al Jazeera not too long ago where it said she basically has no interest in seeing Africa develop and she is borderline racist. The fact that the IMF is filled with people from Francophone African countries attests to France’s continued use of the colonial card “yes bwana” type of mentality which sadly our brothers from French speaking Africa seem to be following.

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    • @Patriot Abroad let me tell in simple language.It si your PF kabwalalas who have starved Zambians not IMF or HH.Wa nwina salary then you want to blame your neighbor for failing to kongwesha you.

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    • @2020vision it’s folly to deny the truth. We were told bluntly that USA, Europe are high contributors and have say in bailouts, by those diplomats doing the rounds. That was clearly thinly veiled. There is certainly an element.

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  22. This is a great setback for Lungu and his govt. Based on Team Lungu govt record, IMF knows that this irresponsible govt would NOT use the loan to fix the economy but buy votes. This govt is so irresponsible and wasteful and would have looted the loan proceeds to enrich ECL and his ruling elites leaving the new govt in a big financial mess. The Fund has given this govt a vote of no confidence and Zambians who vote for ECL and PF do so at their own peril. This election is about electing a competent leadership and ECL Team has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubts that they are corrupt,incompetent and irresponsible to the core. VOTE OUT Lungu and PF#

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  23. Thanks for the advise guyz, we are here to share knowledge. Lets vote wisely. Our leaders need to avoid situations were we have no choice but to plead with IMF. They need to Plan ahead.

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  24. ..Ctn..the Farmer Input Support Programme, Infrastructure projects, helping young Zambians with the Citizens Empowerment Initiative and most of the funds to pay for these projects don’t even come from the IMF, most funds are internally raised. What has the IMF got to do with the Euro Bond?? That is non of their business anyway.

    However, I personally see a need for austerity (and I’ve said it many times even before this press release) amongst top govt officers, they need to cut their wages and allowances. But you’ll never hear IMF talk about that they always want poor people at the bottom to suffer.

    2016 ECL nafuti

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  25. 2020vision how can you see need for austerity measures when you depend on Government contracts stolen money by over pricing roads. zambians are suffering most of them depending on one meal pre day.

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    • @sido mark you are deliberately blinding yourself to the realities around you. The global economic downturn is a major factor that cannot be denied. Even a powerful economy like South Africa is having very hard times, our immediate neighbours like Zim, Mozambique, Angola even Tanzania are also having very difficult challenges. Despite this the PF govt have really tried to cushion the impact, most of the funds have been used on Zambians and on Zambians alone, the works on the roads have employed so many Zambians, FISP has provided inputs, GRZ has employed thousands of personnel. Be fair in your criticism.
      2016 ECL nafuti

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    • Ant employed zambians…..
      Test as casual labour. Almost all the road contracts have been shared out among PF who have been charging the country for the most expensive roads in the world.
      One quarter of the 10 billion US borrowed has been stolen by way of PF over charging poor Zambia for the most expensive roads in the world.

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    • It’s tiresome. Enough already. If you have evidence to support that, please furnish Corruption unit right away.

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  26. Which country on the face of the earth has had IMF policies work for their benefit? Let them give us one that example where IMF programs have worked, nil and I mean nil.
    As for me, I stopped even reading their plagerised articles as far back as 2004.
    Just read articles regarding IMF and South American countries and will count ourselves luck we don’t have them again in Zambia.
    Have you forgotten the infamous privatisation programs, who was in the background when HH plundered our industrial Base? Africa in general doesn’t need this fund period.

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  27. This is the news SATAN1STS in upnd love-shame!!!YOU WILL SEE HOW GOD WILL SHAME YOUR CHIEF SATAN1ST HH ON 11/08/2016!HOW CAN A TRUE CHRISTIAN CELEBRATE NEGATIVE NEWS ABOUT ZAMBIA?!!”IFINTU NI LUNGU-2016!!GO PF GO!!

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