The IMF will have to fit into our economic recovery programme -Mutati

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IMF

Finance Minister Felix Mutati says the Zambian government is proceeding with a home grown economic recovery programme and that everyone including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will have to fit into it.

And IMF Resident Coordinator Alfredo Baldini has urged Zambians not to fear the possible return of the IMF but embrace the home grown recovery programme.

An IMF mission team is due to arrive in Zambia on March 1st 2017 to conclude negotiations for a possible economic bailout package believed to be in the region of US$ 1 billion.

But Mr Mutati explained that the Zambian government has already kick-started the implementation of a home grown economic recovery programme called Zambia Plus adding that the IMF will have to fit into that.

The Finance Minister was speaking in Lusaka Thursday during a well-attended public discussion organised by the Economics Association of Zambia on the IMF recovery programme.

IMF may become Zambia’s undertaker and not doctor

“This is a home grown economic recovery programme and the rest of you including the IMF will have to fit into our programme. We will tell them we don’t need you if they don’t fit in,” Mr Mutati said.

The Finance Minister said Zambia should be allowed to enjoy some of the benefits of belonging to the IMF.

“Our voice should be heard, we are members after all. We should be able access those benefits which we are entitled to as members,” he said.

Mr Mutati said the Zambian economy which was beginning to grind to a halt has now started showing signs of recovery with stability in the foreign exchange market, low inflation and increased tax collection.

He however said challenges around debt servicing and the quantum of debt still remain and the need to maintain consistent policies for recovery.Mr Mutati stressed that government is also committed to fiscal discipline and realigning its expenditure to the key priorities.

He said some non-priority projects have either been cancelled or differed adding that only K8.9 billion has been allocated for capital projects this year.

“The message we keep telling our spending agencies is that you can’t spend what you don’t have,” he said.

And IMF Resident Coordinator Alfredo Baldini admitted that there is still anxiety about the IMF presence in Zambia given the history that the Fund has had with Zambia.

Mr Baldini who likened the IMF to a Coach or a Doctor who administers severe medicines or a fire fighter who is called upon when there is a crisis said the Fund has undergone serious reforms since 2009 which enabled it to disburse more money with less conditions.

“The anxiety about the IMF severe medicine perhaps was like that 20 years ago when we were a bit aloof about the country challenges but since 2009, there was a reform programme at the IMF and now there is more money for lending but with less conditions,” Mr Baldini said.

Speaking during the same event, Economic Consultant Professor Oliver Saasa said he does not believe that the IMF should be a Coach or a Doctor urging that countries should be supported to come up with their own set of policies to steer economic recovery.

Professor Saasa stressed that he does not believe there should even be such a thing as an IMF programme but rather an IMF supported programme.
He has since advised government to delay signing up to the IMF programme if it is not ready with a clear picture of what it wants to do.

“First and foremost, there must be a very clear picture as to what government wants to do and that the IMF only come to compliment and supplement government’s efforts because of that he (Mr Baldini) needed to characterise the IMF as a doctor and doctor do prescribe and the prescription is really where we need challenges because if you follow religiously especially when the competencies within the country to follow those prescriptions are faulty then we end up having the IMF not being the doctor but an undertaker,” Professor Saasa said.

Professor Saasa said he does not believe that Zambia needs additional resources from the IMF but that what the country needs is technical assistance to improve its budget execution which is provided by the Washington based lender.

He also warned government to cut on unnecessary expenditure if it is to continue implementing the economic recovery programme.

“Honourable Mutati, let us tighten our grip on financial discipline and that means that we shouldn’t hear that a new district is being created because there is a by election in that area,” he said.

And WaterAid Country Director Pamela Chisanga said the civil society is concerned that government might be moved to cutting what it might feel as unnecessary expenditure when it signs up to the IMF which might hurt the poor more.
Ms Chisanga said any removal of subsidies that benefit the poor should be done in phased approach saying whatever measures are implemented by government, they should not impact on its ability to deliver basic services for the poor.

39 COMMENTS

  1. How can someone giving you $1billion fit into your plan? No bwana it doesn’t work that way,you are now their slave.

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    • IMF when cabinet meetings are about arresting Zambian businessmen like Mmembe? All those Post trucks parked is lost national economy. Recovering from those opposed MMD-PF partnership.

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    • The so-called “home grown recovery programme” is premised on squeezing SMEs and the middle class for as much tax as possible. You will pay more for everything, including parking, electricity, fuel, food, road tax, tolls, PAYE etc so that Lungu can enjoy and party his humble self.

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    • Someone must be very drunk like his master, why do you go and beg from IMF in the first place if you want to set the conditions now????????

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    • Are Mutati & Baldini consulting each other or were they trying to outdo each other in front of EAZ? They were completely talking about different things.
      What’s Mr Mutati’s PLAN? Is it still on the fabled drawing table?

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    • You shameless beggars have no say on the terms of borrowing.
      We know you already approached the IMF with your tails between your legs and now you trying to impress us with your empty rhetoric.

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  2. The problem zambia has is the bemba theives associated with PF who were like baboons in a maize field.

    At least now MMD and RB are running things with the bemba theives getting chopped one by one by lungu.

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  3. Zambia can do better without IMF if only the guys in government can reduce corruption and theft of state funds. as long as our political party cadres separate from government resources. Those that have been sited in Auditor generals annual audits as having misappropriated state funds must be arrested. The mines are siphoning out monies which is supposed to recover our economy. Brown Envelops are flying to corrupt people in authority so that the real jobs are not done.

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  4. He may have a point but the trouble is he is not talking like a Technocrat but a cadre whose sole aim is to please his master Chagwa. The question is does he sit down to brainstorm macroeconomic issues with Technocrats the way Magande used to do? I very much doubt.

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  5. Economic recovery program? Zambia has an economic RECOVERY program?

    Mutati, please dont use big words that you don’t understand.

    Zambia has a PF PLUNDER PROGRAM! It is a very simple one that I am sure you CAN understand.

    1 Borrow ten billion dollars kaloba

    2 Rig elections and tear up the Constitution

    3 Close down any opposition and independent media

    4 STEAL THE TEN BILLION!

    It should really be called the “Zambia destruction program”…..

    But recovery program sounds much better!

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  6. The IMF never fits into a country’s programme. If you need the IMF, it means that your economy is ruined, gutted. You just have to open your legs and get [email protected] PF have no other options. They can flipflop like KK in the 1980s but it is time to take the bitter medicine because the stealing party is over.

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  7. Where can we get the Government policy paper Zambia plus please so that we can follow the path our Country is planning to take, wth or without the IMF.

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  8. The MMD run PF govt does not know what to do. ECL openly admitted that he has No Vision so where does he want to take Zambia without a Plan? Mutati is delusional . Zambia cannot borrow from IMF or any International Financial Institutions on its own terms and conditions. To access IMF money Zambia will need to implement fiscal and monetary reforms including reforms related to respect of Rule of Law, Property and Human Rights. The illegitimate Lungu govt is right now persecuting Zambians on the basis that they support HH and UPND and the same govt has refused to hear the Petition against Lungu’s re-election. Which means Lungu was not domestically,lawfully and constitutionally elected . The likes of IMF will not finance an illegitimate regime with a poor record on human rights violations…

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  9. Full of contradictions indeed.Just last year this same minister was optimistic about the bail out program and now his tone seem to be sarcastic. For your own information Mutati the IMF can do without you and not vise versa. $1billion is a lot of money which can not be given if no stringent measures are put in place more especially on the expenditure side.Corruption is another vise that should be addressed together with unplanned expenditure which should be curbed. What are you scared of? Democratic tenets as well as free press are some measures that the IMF wants to be upheld and not just economic recovery. Bringing back the confidence in the markets and in investors will require a level playing field for all political players for this to succeed and not dictatorial tendencies.

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  10. WE DON’T NEED IMF RO LIVE OUR LIVES. MANY COUNTRIES HAVE REFUSED TO BE SLAVES TO THESE PEOPLE AND ARE DOING QUITE WELL. MUTATI IS RIGHT. AFRICA CAN DEVELOP ITSELF. WE DON’T NEED ECONOMIC MASTER’S.

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    • LOMBE, WITH WHAT MONEY? WE OWE SO MUCH MONEY AND ANY THAT COMES IN ENDS UP IN SOMEONE S BANK ACCOUNT. YES WE HAVE THE RESOURCES BUT NO GOOD GOVERNANCE, YOU AND ME WILL HAVE TO PAY HEAVIER TAXES TO PAY BACK THE MONEY WE NEVER BENEFITTED FROM

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  11. Wow really he didn’t just say “they have to fit in our plans”. Mozambique’s loan deal was tabled because they failed to declare a $1.4bn debt, and so the IMF have refused to lend. Nigeria the biggest economy is SSA is in a recession and even they need a plan before any lending by the IMF or World Bank is given. Now Zambia with a population of 15mn is going to tell them these are our terms, take them or go! Lets get real, as a country there is no money. Zambia’s outlook has been downgraded to a negative rating by ratings agencies, debt servicing is at 20%, inflation at over 19%, $1-k9. The IMF will look at the fundamentals in the economy before they lend you any money, and know the interest is high. It maybe that before they lend, they ask to do an audit of your books to do the due…

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  12. Mr Mutati and IMF guy are just trying to hoodwink us into believing that whatever program Zambia will pursue is home grown when infact it’s IMF bred. It is not possible to give u $1billion and expect the guys to keep mute. There is an IMF program in the making and I pray its osterity measures begin with KaKwendo Munjila. THE LENDER WILL ALWAYS RULE OVER THE BORROWER….A BEGAR (If not a BURGER)IS NOT A CHOOSER

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  13. $1bn is too small, I think ZRA can close loopholes to make such money. In a GDP of $40bn, raising $1bn is not rocket science.

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  14. For once a country has stood up to a bullying neo-colonialist. We needed the IMF most in the yester-years to help us clean up Sata’s mess, but they ignored our SoS. What on earth do they want when our kwacha has stabilised and things are looking up again? Yes, we still have work to do (a lot of it) but IMF ain’t got no magic wand. The magic lies in a government that steadfastly adheres to all the rules of fiscal descipline. But I even I must admit – I am not sure Edgar has what it takes to see us cover the final miles to the promised land; he looks every bit clueless, if not carefree. Anyhow, we know what we ought to do without involving IMF. Let them borrow their own money. Ife takana.

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  15. This for Nkana Water &Sewerage Co. Stop sending general disconnection warnings. Send them to those who owe you not people you owe money. Improve on your PR and save stationary.

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  16. Mutati is yet to realize that it will be difficult for him to control expenditure under the PF govt.Look at the hierarchy of the PF,the party has been inter-twinned with govt.Look at the position of party sec.general,the resources running that office are govt.resources.The country is witnessing the heavy politicization of govt.operatives,including projects implementation,there-by creating ground for corruption.

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  17. Government (PF) and lender (IMF) must work out acceptable terms for both parties. It is mischievous to force each other into submission. It is unusual for IMF to follow a client blindly. It is also unusual for a client to follow the lender blindly. I sense hardening of positions from the Zambian side and that is unfortunate. The win-win situation is to borrow to prevent unnecessary economic hard chips in the country. There is need for soul searching. What was the cause of the financial hardships? What were the effects of financial hardships on the national economy? How much borrowing is necessary to overcome the economic, social, political and cultural hardships? That is the truth and nothing but the truth. There is no need for confrontation because where elephants clashed, it was the…

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  18. How does clueless PF fit into many many poor Zambians road to economic prosperity programme? Salaula dealers and rd side kantembas should ditch visionless PF and its economic ruination propgramme.

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  19. Mutati must be the only fool who hasn’t heard the principle that beggars don’t choose! His is nothing but wishful dreaming, IMF izakunyokolani kaloba bafikal.i imwe mwabe ******* pa tulukobo twenu, alah!

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  20. Ba BF esi mane fokumwi baeza inge linja za mutanganyo, li tukufalezwi ku palisana ni ku icambukiseza matungulu kusiya binena byateni ki teleee wa mwana sibungu ku nyafuta fateni ni mabuku!

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  21. Maybe this is face saving in case IMF say “BAD LUCK” so that we can say ” IMF wouldnt accept our terms so we dknt want your money”

    SENSITISING of public it is called

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  22. The IMF will have to fit into our economic recovery program” -Mutati

    Who is IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., of “189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”

    We a small country with many problems, we need to work with these 189 countries. President Lungu is soon going to Sudan I’m sure Sudan, is going to dictate all the talks just because of their gave 15 scholarships to Zambian.

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  23. And the beggar chose his terms. The president ordered the assasination of his brother in Malaysia. And clown Donald Trump became the President of the USA. It was a crazy world
    Those are the unbelievable fairy tales you all will be telling your kids in future

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