Government says a team from the International Monetary Fund will be visiting Zambia before the end of this month for discussions towards the design of a home-grown but IMF supported economic stabilization program.
The Ministry of Finance Minister has since refuted reports circulating on social media that President Edgar Lungu has u-turned on his commitment to an IMF programme because of tough conditions.
“The Ministry of Finance takes this opportunity to express concern at the tendency by some public service officials and in some alleged cases, central bank officials, to distort facts and circulate them to the media with unfettered impunity,” a statement issued by Ministry Spokesman Chileshe Kandeta said.
He said the IMF will be provided with home-grown macro and fiscal aspirations for the next annual budget and the medium term in order to pave way for program discussions so that once in place, the Fund supported program will not be at variance with the budget and the medium term expenditure framework.
Mr Kandeta said, “The trending circulation on social media about the constituent components of an IMF supported program for Zambia should be ignored with the contempt it deserves as neither the Zambian government nor the IMF announces decisions through unidentifiable sources.”
He said the Ministry of Finance is hopeful that as stakeholders are being consulted in developing an economic recovery program, the seventh national development plan and the Fund supported economic stabilization program, public service workers must demonstrate – without exception – their full commitment and support for the government of the day.
“It is our belief at the Treasury that all public service workers have a duty to render their unconditional support to the government of the day in order to protect the sovereign dignity of the country and facilitate the timely, efficient and effective implementation of social-economic policies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Felix Mutati is today scheduled to arrive in Washington DC for the 2016 Annual Meetings of the IMF and The World Bank.
Mr. Mutati is expected to hold consultative meetings with the Office of the IMF Managing Director, World Bank Vice President, constituency and caucus sessions of the Bretton Woods Institutions, the USA Treasury, the representatives of multinational private sector organisations, international investors, global private sector organisations, high credit rated financial sector organisations and, the top leadership of the USA Millennium Challenge Corporation among others.
He is accompanied to Washington DC by Bank of Zambia Governor Dr. Denny Kalyalya, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary for Financial Management and Administration, Dr. Ronald Simwinga and other Senior Government and Bank of Zambia officials.
A team from the Fund visited Zambia in March to appreciate the country’s macroeconomic situation and commence engagement towards a formal program between Zambia and the IMF as directed by Cabinet.
Further, another round of engagement was initiated at the April 2016 Bretton Woods Institutions’ Spring Meetings in Washington DC whereby the Zambian Government and the IMF agreed on an engagement approach which would lead to the country getting on a program.