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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

There are no IMF preconditions for bail out-Mutati

Headlines There are no IMF preconditions for bail out-Mutati

Felix Mutati
Felix Mutati

Finance Minister Felix Mutati says Government has not yet hosted any detailed programme discussions with the International Monetary Fund over a financial bailout for Zambia.

Mr Mutati also stated that are no IMF preconditions for accessing the financial bailout from the Fund.

He told Parliament in a ministerial statement that the IMF are in Zambia this week on a monitoring mission to discuss the economic situation and for the Zambian government to start presenting to them its Economic Recovery Programme.

Mr Mutati said the Government expects the IMF to return for programme discussions later.

And Mr Mutati has revealed that Government has commenced an economic recovery programme called “Zambia Plus”, meaning that all solutions will be determined by us Zambians while external partners including the IMF will form the plus as the country engages them to assist in this Zambian process.

Below is Mr Mutati’s full statement


Mr. Speaker,

I am here today to make clear the gravity of our current economic situation and set out our Economic Recovery Programme that will guide us and ensure we shift back to levels of growth our country needs to prosper.

The State of the Economy

Honourable Members, Zambia is experiencing slower growth in 2016, after a decade of accelerated progress. This is on account of external and domestic challenges.

External challenges relate to low international commodity prices and adverse weather linked to the El Nino weather system over the past two agricultural seasons.

Domestic challenges include:

1. the power crisis and high inflation that have increased the cost of production for the private sector;
2. policy reversals that have adversely impacted business planning particularly in the mining sector; and
3. the impact of growing expenditure pressures that have exerted pressure on monetary policy whose ability has been reduced.

These factors have had a negative effect on the confidence of foreign and domestic investors and the players in the financial markets.

Mr. Speaker, economic growth in 2015 slowed to around 3% and is currently projected just above 3% for 2016. This is far below the 7% levels required to reduce poverty and to drive this country’s development. Further, the substantial tightening of monetary policy has not come without cost.

Tighter liquidity and higher costs of borrowing have weighed on the private sector at a very difficult time, threatening growth prospects further.

What is clear, Honourable Members, is that the monetary policy would not have needed to be so tight if the fiscal policy had been less expansionary. In future we need greater balance and a more integrated and joined approach to our policies so that we can be supportive of the private sector.
This will enable the much needed job creation by our firms, farms and industries create.

On the external side, the external sector is weaker. The value of our exports has fallen with global price falls. A trade deficit has emerged as we are at present importing more than we are exporting. This has put pressure on our international reserves, which have substantially declined from US$3.9 billion in July 2015 to US$2.3 billion at present. The much-needed foreign exchange is flowing out of the country.

This is as a result of existing commitments we have, particularly those relating to subsidies that have an external component. Positively, we have now started to deal with these subsidies.

Sir, the economic challenges we are facing are also reflected in the deterioration of public finances. In 2016 the fiscal impact of the economic shocks has forced public expenditure upwards while revenues fell short of expectations.

This has caused the gap between what taxes we collect and what we must spend to drift further. The fiscal deficit when unpaid bills or arrears are included is expected to breach 10% of GDP this year. Key parts of the deficit include:

1. a build-up of arrears related to infrastructure, particularly in the road sector;
2. government expenditures on fuel subsidies;
3. financing of emergency electricity imports to mitigate the impact of the power crisis; and
4. above budget expenditures via the Food Reserve Agency and FISP.

Added to these pressures have been rising debt service costs as a result of the depreciation of the Kwacha and higher domestic lending rates.
Whilst some of the shocks we have faced are externally induced and so cannot be controlled, there are areas where more consistent policymaking can play a key role. These imbalances clearly need to be urgently addressed. This is to unlock faster growth and provide the employment opportunities sought across the country.

Moving from these imbalances to a more sustainable footing will be the focus of our Economic Recovery Programme. Shifting from an expansionary fiscal stance to more sustainable public finances will be cardinal as it will improve our ability to respond to external challenges and provide the much needed jobs and growth on the domestic front.

Mr. Speaker, we are alive to the fact that the economic glitches are hitting the pockets of families, particularly the marginalized that are unable to respond to these negative developments.

To shorten the challenging period for our people, Government is determined to embark on emergency measures to start addressing the economic imbalances through a home grown economic recovery programme.

Sir, with this economic recovery programme Government has taken responsibility for the hard work and decisions that lay ahead. The Economic Recovery Programme provides Zambian solutions to the challenges we face. We will reach out for support, but any support will be limited to assisting us, in our processes and our policies for economic recovery.

This is the reason we are referring to our Economic Recovery Programme as “Zambia Plus”, meaning that all solutions will be determined by us Zambians while external partners will form the plus as we engage them to assist in this Zambian process. This includes the IMF.
The Economic Recovery Programme

Sir, there are substantial costs associated with delaying action. Hence we launch our Economic Recovery Programme with immediate effect. Our Economic Recovery Programme has five pillars.

The first pillar involves strengthening tax policy and administration, to improve revenue inflows, and to shift public expenditure back to affordable levels. We cannot spend what we do not have. As a start, we are dealing with reallocating subsidies that have been growing and cost us over US$1 billion in 2016 alone. This money can immediately be used in more productive areas and be better targeted towards supporting the poorest households.

As earlier mentioned, the removal of subsidies can harm the poor, as they are least able to adjust. To ensure the poor are better protected, Government will embark on the second pillar that will see an increased budgetary allocation to social protection including addressing the plight of pensioners.

Honourable members of the house, you will agree with me that Zambia’s resources must be safeguarded so that there is no wastage and that we achieve high impact from our spending. Government will therefore ensure that it improves economic and fiscal governance under the third pillar. This will involve strengthening of regulations and laws to make them more punitive to abusers and ensure transparency in the way we arrive at economic and spending decisions.

Mr. Speaker, budget credibility remains a big concern. Past variations to the budget have been as high as 25%. This cannot continue given that the discretionary budget is only around 2% of domestic revenues. The fourth pillar will be centered around improving budget credibility. Better planning, and adherence to expenditure plans and improvement of the quality of Government’s spending.

Honourable Members of the House, the fifth pillar will provide us with greater economic stability. With economic stability comes a better platform for economic growth and job creation. Without stability and market confidence, the private sector will not recover. Under this pillar, Government will also put in place measures to unlock growth by targeting investment in the sectors with binding constraints to growth. On the investment side enhancing energy and transport infrastructure remains key.

On the policy side we will be prioritizing efforts to reduce the costs of production and ease doing business. Improving access to credit, lowering lending rates and reducing inflation are key to this part of our Economic Recovery Programme.
As part of the economic recovery programme, Government will:

1. prioritise the dismantling of arrears owed to contractors to help companies meet their obligations and sustain their operations.
2. put in place measures to give access to cheaper financing for SMEs. As a start, we have accessed a US$50 million facility with the African Development Bank to be used for lending to SMEs.
3. put in place clearly elaborated programmes to actualize the vision of his Excellency the President, Mr. Edgar C. Lungu, regarding industrialization and turning Zambia into an agricultural hub.

IMF Programme

Sir, all these plans I have highlighted above will require strong domestic and external collaboration. International support, on our negotiated terms, will help make the recovery plan a success. As a member of the IMF we welcome their financial and technical support and we will engage with the visiting IMF team in discussions on how best IMF financing could help strengthen our Economic Recovery Programme. This will be done with all other Cooperating Partners.

Honourable Members, I wish to mention from the onset that the efficacy of IMF programmes is beyond getting financing, but inducing the confidence and cooperation of external benefactors such as the investor community and cooperating partners regarding the credibility of our economic programmes. The credibility of the IMF as an independent appraiser cannot therefore be over emphasized.

May I now take this opportunity, Sir, to inform the house that Government has not yet hosted any detailed programme discussions with the IMF and there are no IMF preconditions.

Our engagement with the IMF has changed considerably over the past decade. And thankfully the days of prescriptions from Washington, without due regard for country peculiarities, have made way and evolved into a better technical and collaborative partnership. The IMF provide financial support to countries facing balance of payments. We should not turn away from financial and technical assistance and instead take charge and utilize the support.

The IMF are here this week on a monitoring mission to discuss the economic situation and for us to start presenting to them our Economic Recovery Programme. We expect them to return for programme discussions later.

May I inform the house that before any programme details are agreed upon, Cabinet and other economic stakeholders will be consulted and any final agreement, if appropriate, would be expected in the first quarter of 2017.


I will Mr. Speaker be soon presenting to this house the 2017 budget, in which I will in greater detail underline the measures we plan to undertake to ensure that stability and growth return.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you.


  1. This insistence we are in control is worth considering a weakness in our psyche. Since gaining the ‘mandate’, one only has to look at the preoccupation of government with ‘politics’ to realise that change is unlikely to happen while the hunt for someone to blame continues.

    If the decision is to deal with IMF then pre-conditions or not they have already publicly laid out what they expect. Waffling on to act like we have the foresight or muscle to do anything other than bend over backwards to accommodate is knee jerk reaction to critics.

    Find an alternative solution you are in control of coz you won’t win this PR faux war.

    • Let the waffling begin. The statement does not make sense at all. When are we going to learn to be honest kanshi. Eish..very tiring.

    • Mutati’s statement just shows that PF are panicking with removing so-called subsidies when the IMF have not even laid their opening gambit. IMF preconditions are a given. At the moment then, it appears that Mutati and PF are trying to second guess what the IMF will demand. Rest assured good governance will be one of the preconditions – no political prisoners, no harassment of the opposition. And then there will be more. IMF money is not free money to use on buying machine guns, police batons, pepper sprays and armoured vehicles. Wait for it!

    • It is extremely important that any perceived national plan of any sort including a plan to economic recovery clearly and categorically attach a time frame to it. What an oversight! Hon. Minister what’s your estimated economic recovery period?

    • Upnd is doomed unless there is change of attitude.

      Falsehood wl take them nowhere but backward.

      That ‘forward’ slaugan will simply take them in reverse as long as fabrication continues to be their main line of creativity.

      Upnd will still exist in 2021 but only as a disorganised and weak party.

    • IMF always has pre-determined conditions which they only dilute after some negotiations. Pre-conditions are therefore already there.

    • It is always heartbreaking to have to say we told you so. PF who blew the surplus that MMD left into a $9.2billion debt mountain are never going to be the best party to deal with the IMF. Now watch as PF open their legs and let IMF [email protected] Zambia. Don’t blame the opposition. You cannot run govt from the opposition. It is not UPND negotiating with IMF.

    • Mutati blames everything on earth for the lousy economy in Zambia, but never mentions internal corruption, inept leadership, or lack of vision by PF. It’s evident that the Zambian economy has gotten worse since PF got into office. Since ECL got into office, (January 2015) the Zambian Kwacha has been devalued by half. Inflation shot up from 7% in January 2015 to 18% as at this moment. Unemployment has also gotten worse, not to mention the fact that Zambia has now been declared as the third hungriest nation in the world. He talks about the mines, but never mentions the fact that mining companies in Zambia have had little to no oversight from the government (Please watch a video on YouTube entitled “Stealing Africa–Why Poverty?” to see what’s happening to Zambia). In many cases,…

    • (Continued).. the mines have done more harm than good to the country, refusing to pay taxes, or paying very little, polluting our rivers and our environment with toxic waste, and also polluting air which has led to Zambians suffering from lung diseases. The truth is, Zambia lacks good and competent negotiators, and this guy pretending that he can tell IMF what he wants them to do is completely false. They prescribe the pre- conditions, which in most cases are non negotiable, in a take- it -or -leave -it kind of way. if you don’t accept their conditions they walk away. And if you think that IMF’s first priority is to see the Zambian economy prosper, then you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • All you guys disbelieving this statement must understand that the IMF has changed in the way it operates, from the ’80s/’90s “do this or else” to more of negotiated deals. The catch here is that the country HAS to present its own program, backed up with facts and figures. The only thing pre-determined is the bailout figure, but the conditions and terms are by and large negotiable. Those of you that followed Greece (though not a good example because they engaged with a troika) and Ghana (more relevant to Zambia because of similar fiscal problems) would have have seen the way the negotiations were undertaken. So, the ball is in Zambia’s court, in terms of the bailout terms it gets, and not the amount because this is tied to Zambia’s debt sustainability. Zambia would need a good and…

  2. 2 is easily fixed. Get the Mines to pay back all they have been subsidised to date. Stop subsidising them future onwards. Can Mines really contribute adequately while commodities are being deliberately undervalued by the West? You are giving copper away free. Rethink reliance on the Plus. What cooperating Partners? Most of them just want free use of our resources while small harvest goes to small pockets in Zambia. Stop leaning onto things, look harshly at what needs to be done. As for Civil Service, is the budget manageable. Please cut hours and head counts if necessary than have arrears in pay. Agree with unions quickly.

    • What subsidies to the mines? The IMF will insist that PF pays the over $600m of VAT refunds to the mines that they have quietly borrowed without interest being paid. Chanda at ZRA has already admitted to the need to pay these VAT refunds. PF are incompetent and clueless. It is payback time for all their acts of mismanagement of the economy since 2011.

    • What are you the vengeful vampire? Do you not realise you are celebrating the misery of people? All that because of a delusional idea that HH would have done better? VAT should be withheld for the free electricity they have been subsidised.

    • Ati “..VAT should be withheld for the free electricity they have been subsidised..” re the mines.

      Then the mines will have to revaluate their business plan which factored in the price of power and agreed with the GRZ.

      Stop trying to penalise companies and people for the incompetence of lungu….we told you he has no vision but all you wanted was to dance.

    • Sit back and relax – you are in control now. We told you that Lungu’s victory was hollow. Waona manje. You are lashing out at bystanders because the task is too big for you. Even before IMF have opened their bag of demands, you are already conceding 40% fuel increases. Next is 350% electricity tariff increase. Mutati is doing PF a big favour to step in at Finance because the empty tins, like Silverback, cannot handle a crisis that requires a bit of brain. Their only solution is to dance Dununa Reverse instead – even in New York.

    • Forget the west what a joke its the Chinese, where does all the copper go,who builds the roads and buildings all over Zambia, and take the large profits out of the countryand who is buying all the land , its the Chinese, your new masters. Wake up

  3. Mutati needs our support. This is a good perspective of the issues affecting us today. No DUNU DUNU day in and day out. We need to support Mutati and his team starting from the President to the man on the street. Let us give him time to manage this economy without undue influence from the president. Vintu vavuta apa.

    • Most of us did not even know what Dununa Reverse was. You started it. Why are you loath to hear it again? Its your music, dance to it.

  4. Really laughable..even coining phrases like “Zambia Plus” plus begging…absolutely no shame at all relying on friends who work hard because they are too lazy and too reckless..why do you pray like you like doing for money to fall from the sky and suppliment your budget.

    • PF are susceptible to sloganeering. Donchi, Dununa Reverse, now Zambia Plus. With PF, there’s always a catch, a lie. They mistake slogans for real work. That’s how Zambia got to be where it is.

  5. “..put in place clearly elaborated programmes to actualize the vision of his Excellency the President, Mr. Edgar C. Lungu, regarding industrialization and turning Zambia into an agricultural hub” – so according to you Mutati,this is Lungu’s vision and not a collective Zambian responsibility which I believe should be in PF’s manifesto!!.

  6. I cant comment really…I respect Mutati but what is addressed is what has been in the papers regarding IMF and DBZ $50 million…..its either this is a sign that nothing is in order in the house or had nothing concrete to tell the nation….. we watching like a vulture on its prey

  7. Mutati has essentially confirmed what some of us consistently talked about; this government was spending money that we never really had. Its now visible the lack of strategy in spending all that euro bond money because the poor Zambian now has to bare the brunt, all that infrastructure now seems cosmetic at the moment. That being said the measures proposed are the only option available and deserve support. Only hope he gets the political backing, more so from those only concerned with ‘sontaling’.

    • What happened to Alexander Chikanda’s sinking fund for repaying the Eurobonds? That was a central pillar in his budget speech last year when people were saying that Zambia would default on Eurobond repayments when they were due. Does anybody know how mych PF has put in the mythical sinking fund?

  8. “I am here today to make clear the gravity of our current economic situation and set out our Economic Recovery Programme that will guide us and ensure we shift back to levels of growth our country needs to prosper.”
    Mr Felix,do u real understand what this statement means, can your govt start acting this out? like reducing fruitless external trips by Chagwa, reducing the size of the “useless” cabinet, etc?

  9. “What is clear, Honourable Members, is that the monetary policy would not have needed to be so tight if the fiscal policy had been less expansionary. In future we need greater balance and a more integrated and joined approach to our policies so that we can be supportive of the private sector.” This statement sums up my comment above.

    • Just to add that his honesty is a breath of fresh air. Like Magade, no sugarcoating our economic situation. Hope its the end of cheap propaganda like cheap Saudi oil at k5/ Ltr. Back to reality.

  10. I believe the economy will be recovered let’s support the government I must admit that more effort is needed to get our economy back on track.

    • The most sensible and appropriate comment exhibiting the correct manner we should adopt.

      UPND lot need to stop celebrating the coming harsh times. You are an irritation to calm sensible Zambians who want to start fixing for good roads!

    • Stop harassing and arresting opposition leaders. Lungu is spending his time chasing HH and GBM around the country when visionary leadership is needed.

    • I thought PF have always said that social media has no impact on politics. Why are you crying for support on social media now? Go and dance Dununa Reverse on the streets instead to make your points heard.

  11. I really believe Mr Mutatis when he says the poor will be hurt as they cant adjust quickly. Between his statement and the presidents yesterday that the poor will benefit from removal of subsides Mutati is honest. Who does not know that the high cost of production (by company owned by the rich) will be passed on to the consumer. (which constitutes large number of the poor)

  12. Economic bailout must move hand in hand with austerity measures for you to achieve stability and fiscal descipline. What has changed? The IMF has always, always attached preconditions to their ‘mula’ bwana. Yes! Can the president and Govt officials also cut on their external trips please unless they anchor on economic recovery.

  13. Mutati will have to give good guidance to the visionless ECL. I applaud Mutati for being candid about excessive spending and the need to change course. If ECL let’s go of his hand he will crash. Knowing ECL he is likely to let go and reverse some important decisions. Look at what happened on the Mining tax regime approved by parliament and the electricity tariffs he reversed.

    I support the position that Mutati has taken but I don’t support ECL his band of brutal thugs in police uniform.

    Good luck Zambia.

    • Instead of Mutati giving good guidance to ECL, better option is to hire surgeon to perform collective lobotomy on the members of PF starting with 20/20 vision 1mbecile

  14. It’s all good to Surport ,And contribute this is the reason mr mutate mentioned Zambia plus. Than to what happened when saleling the mines, A stuition where mines where sold at 25000000 million usa dollars, And the some mines made profits of 75000000 million dollars which was a mistake. Know that the country is tolking of industriastoin it is a good move.

  15. Economic growth has sunk,Zambia’s debt has substantially risen ,forex reserves have almost halved ,budget deficit is almost 10% and Zambia has a power crisis plus high inflation.

    You blind PF skunks who voted in this clueless govt do you now see how you’ve helped sink Zambia? Lets bring in able and visionary leaders like Uhuru Kenyatta or Kagame both of them who have their economies firing very well on all pistons.

  16. Given the enormous costs of PF incompetence and the huge setbacks in terms of negative economic performance was it worth it to send RB home ? I THINK NOT.

    The meagre savings of Sata’s PF fighting corruption vs the enormous loss in RB’s stellar economic management was totally NOT WORTH IT.

  17. When planning projects, abusing and misappropriation of government resources for personal ,party and government projects and neglecting financial control measures it was a cabinet affair now that the economy is on it’s knees you want ordinary Zambians to sacrifice and pay the price. Very unfair.


    Across the political spectrum guys let’s unite to ban the use of luxury vehciles by govt officials- the only ones benefiting are the car manufacturers such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ford, Mazda- the IMF have never raised a concern about the rampant wasting of funds on Luxury SUVs because these car manufacturers are part and parcel of the conspiracy with IMF to drain funds.


  19. @raph get your facts correct inflation has dropped from its recent high of 22 percent to now below 17 percent and still dropping. The exchange rate has stabilised between 9 and 10 to the USD with signs it might reach as low as 6 by the beginning of next year. The power blackouts have greatly reduced as opposed to what you the doomsayers were predicting, blackouts for only 2 hours in some cases there are no blackouts throughout the week. A lot of course needs to be done but better under PF than a govt run by HH a former privitisation crook.

    • This is the calm before the storm. Wait for the stampede. There’s nothing to celebrate about PF economic management and Lungu knows it – that’s why he dared put an outsider like Mutati at Finance.

  20. Mutati has joined the PF Group of deceit. Very soon Mutati will be discarded just like a condom after use. These PF financially indisciplined people will never change. They think money like leaves grows on trees and can just be plucked off. IMF pre-conditions are a necessary evil when u are dealing with a clueless and visionless leadership in PF who cannot manage a modern functioning economy. Good Governance and the growth of our Constitutional Democracy are priorities. Human Rights violations by the illegitimate Lungu govt have to stop and the Petetioners Rights have got to be respected if Lungu wants legitimacy. The only way to restore faith in the Judiciary is for Lungu to allow a proper Petetion Hearing . Without this Lungu will remain illegitimate and will find it very difficult to…

    • Mwape you are spot on. The problem with PF is that they are living in denial that they have ravaged this economy almost beyond repair. I’m sure Mutati must be shocked to find the state in which the economy is compared with the state in which his party(MMD) left it 5 years ago. In some government ministries funding has been received only twice this year. How do people operate? But within the same ministry or country you find that a month never elapses without a Presidential or Ministerial foreign trip.And here we are talking about trips that gobble huge sums of money. We must set our priorities right. If we don’t, development will be a far-fetched dream.

  21. Mutati presentation of the road map to Zambia’s economic recovery makes great reading. He appears to be an upgraded version of a Finance minister compared to the predecessor. On this one, ECL is a winner. Its also a shift from the PF popularist stance on infrastructure expansion their basis of the “sonta opo wabombela” slogan. Reigning in good governance, improved tax collection, removal of unsustainable subsidies, policy consistence, National centered planning etc is a step in the right direction. Central to all this is ECL, Can he walk the talk and support the Minister like Mwanawasa did ? so far so good. am not sure whether HH would have done it differently.Time will tell.

  22. The reason you are going to the IMF is because you have no other option. That is the lender of last resort. The reason they are there is to look at your books, not for you to tell them what to do. Which country has taken an IMF bailout with 0 conditions, it never happened in the west. Yet in Zambia one of the smaller economies, they should give you preference please. If you want the people of Zambia to support you, kindly tell them the severity of the situation. Probably the reason why it has not been given to you is the debt burden and previous strategy of payment that has not occurred. Mozambique, Greece and other countries tried to hide their debt, and it didn’t work out. #5 more years of the PF, will we have a country left ?

  23. we are in these problems because of Michael Sata. He just like Lungu was very blank on how to lead the country. The coming of PF was the beginning of problems for mother Zambia.

  24. Great presentation to parliament, Mr Mutati.
    Now remember that to every economic plan there are two things namely: WORDS AND NUMBER, and both of them have a story to tell – Words have a story like what you have presented above, but what of the Numbers in this story? We need to know this good presentation in NUMBERS as well, what story are the numbers in this presentation telling?

  25. I hear parliamentarians have been given $65,000 each as a loan to purchase 4 x 4 vehicles?
    $65,000 x 156 mps = $10,140,000.00!!!!! within a month of being in office!!!!

  26. The minister honestly thinks that the IMF are ready to put $ 1.5 billion into a system that has proved to be financially irresponsible without any conditions. That’s laughable. If the Dununa guys think everyone has a cavalier attitude towards money, then they are terribly wrong. Conditions are coming and they will be very stringent if not nasty in some instances. The economy is a sinkhole and to plug it will require firming it up with tough conditions.

  27. Stop looking and depending on the outside world great and powerful are your people and your land is very rich. How long will keep on looking from outside. Stop stealing and drinking go to work and send you children to higher institution of learning so your people can invest in their own country. You have all you need Zambia. Stop bringing foreigners to enslave your people. No one from outside can build you a house you have to build it yourselves. Ask God for wisdom not for economy improvement God will never do that your economy is not His economy. It a wrong way of pray and fasting. You can ask for wisdom not for money. I pray for wisdom over our leaders and the spirit of counsel. I love you Zambian and I know you have what it take to change the economy, just look to God for wisdom,…

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