International Trade Consultant Trevor Simumba has condemned the statement issued by State House Spokesman Amos Chanda regarding the impending IMF bailout deal for Zambia.
Mr Chanda told Journalists this week that the Zambian government will not agree to any IMF programme that will hurt the majority of poor Zambians.
Zambia is before the end of this year expected to sign up to an IMF bailout package believed to be in the region of US$ 1.2 billion but the assistance is expected to come with stringent austerity measures.
Mr Chanda however said the Zambian government is not ready to accept tough austerity measures from the IMF that could hurt the poor.
But Mr Simumba said the statement from Mr Chanda should not have been made as it exposes the government and weakens their negotiation power.
“In fact, these issues must be dealt with by Secretary to Treasury or BOZ Governor not the spokesperson who has no clue about the dynamics of negotiating an IMF programme,” Mr Simumba said.
He said, “Remember the reason we need the IMF is that the PF Government in particular the former Minister of Finance have completely mismanaged the economy and have put Zambia in a debt and fiscal deficit crisis that requires the IMF. Zambia is in a very weak position to begin to dictate terms.”
Mr Simumba said the focus for the Zambian government should be on designing a recovery programme that shows that Government expenditure especially on salaries and Recurrent Departmental Charges will be controlled and reduced.
He said government should also focus on ensuring that the country collects more revenue domestically and attract significant new investment.
“Posturing with no plan is a recipe for disaster,” he warned.