State House says the Zambian government will turn down any proposals to implement tough austerity measures that will hurt the majority poor.
State House Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda clarified that the International Monetary Fund bailout program which Zambia intends to engage into will be a mutually agreed program designed to stabilize the local economy.
Mr Chanda has assured that there will be no austerity measures that will be accepted that may make the status of majority vulnerable Zambians worse contrary to assertions that the IMF program will hurt Zambians.
Mr. Chanda disclosed that government has reached advanced stages in negotiating with the IMF for a possible bailout package but was quick to mention that government has not yet made a commitment to the proposed US$1.2 billion.
He said once ministers are appointed, the program will be negotiated on terms agreeable to the government and that all the money received will be channelled to productive areas.
“The money that is being injected into subsidies will be invested in growth areas of the economy,” Mr Chanda told a media briefing at State House on Tuesday.
Mr Chanda said the IMF had indicated in talks with the government that the aid package would amount to around $1.2 billion dollars and negotiations would resume as soon as a new cabinet was appointed.
He said the government shares the IMF’s concerns about the huge amounts of money being spent on subsidies but that would not implement measures that would hurt the poor.
“There will be no austerity measures that will be accepted that will increase the cost of health care. There will be nothing that will be accepted that will make life for the poor more miserable than it is now,” Mr. Chanda said.
President Edgar Lungu said on August 18 that Lusaka and the IMF had reached broad consensus on the key areas of an aid programme for Zambia, but did not elaborate.