The on-going negotiations of engaging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to recover the economy is something which has to be handled with care as it risks increasing the poverty levels in the country say Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) Lewis Mwape.
Mr Mwape said in a press statement today that the IMF package if not well implemented could increase poverty and leave the country in pieces.
“We are hopeful that government will continue to engage various stakeholders so that as a nation we can come up with the best economic recovery package from the IMF,” Mr Mwape noted.
He disclosed that the IMF deal if not well handled risks affecting the implementation of the 7th National Development Plan and also the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The ZCSD Executive Director urged government to pursue smart development agenda based on three pillars of economic, social, and the environment.
He said the past IMF package for Zambia was more focused on economic recovery and left out the social sector which affected provision of services such as health and education with wounds that have taken long to be healed.
Mr Mwape said currently, the ministry of health is still struggling with personnel and operating below 50 percent human resource capacity.
“The acceptable IMF economic recovery package must seek to consider cost of production that will not adversely affect 40.8 percent of our population living in extreme poverty,” Mr Mwape said.
He, however, said the failure to do so would lead people to be buying basic commodities at exorbitant prices which will disadvantage the already vulnerable citizens living in extreme poverty.
He said his organization want to partner with government and other stakeholders in ensuring that SDGs are not only the preserve of technocrats but also placed in the people’s agency for accountability and transparent.
Mr Mwape explained that the high cost of living in Zambia is still of great concern because people’s welfare should be the first priority on the agenda.
“Our economy is static for now and this is subjecting a lot of our people to struggling in fending for their families. Life is hard and few people are looking forward to another day as they don’t have any means of surviving,” Mr Mwape narrated.