“Zambia is on a constructive path in her quest to achieve full economic recovery, socio-economic stability, and reach greater heights of job-creation, prosperity, and country-wide poverty reduction,” Minister of Finance Felix Mutati has said.
Mr. Mutati said this when the Zambian delegation at the 2017 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America, commenced the Washington circuit of discussions with the IMF on the home-grown Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme.
During the Washington circuit of discussions held at the IMF Headquarters, Mr. Mutati informed the Fund that the Zambian Cabinet had approved the country’s home grown Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme, “following wide discussions with civil society, the private sector, trade unions, and the public service at various levels of its leadership hierarchy.”
“Our emphasis is to take the self-motivated initiative in implementing the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme while making progress to finalise discussions on the need for support from the IMF,” said Mr. Mutati.
In his policy presentation to the IMF team, the Minister assured that “consistent with the substantial removal of subsides on petroleum products, and the steady removal on being implemented on power related subsidies, the Zambian government has commissioned a Cost of Service Study for the energy sector, which is targeted at identifying crevices in the energy pricing structure, and implementing corrective measures.”
“The results of the Cost of Service Study will be ready before the end of the year,” stated Mr. Mutati.
Among those who attended the initial Washington circuit talks with IMF together with Mr. Mutati were Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet for Finance and Economic Development Christopher Mvunga, Bank of Zambia Governor Dr. Denny Kalyalya, Ministry of Finance Permament Secretary for Economic Management Mukuli Chikuba and other Senior Government and Bank of Zambia officials.
During the presentation to the Fund, the Minister also affirmed that President Edgar Lungu continues to be a symbol of positivity and great leadership as he had allowed his government to develop a home-grown Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme which had been internationally acknowledged as it was intended to deliver sustainable benefits for the economy and people of Zambia.
Contributing to the discussion, Mr. Mvunga disclosed that the Zambian government is implementing measures aimed at improving the coordination and productivity of the public service through efficient, effective, transparent systems of service delivery and financial accountability.
“To improve governance standards in the public service, all government officials with the responsibility of managing public resources will be requested to undergo intensive transformational programs in corporate governance,” he said, and added that “we have activated the Smart Zambia Center under Cabinet Office to ensure ICT [Information and Communication Technology] takes up its full role in eliminating redundant public service processes and procedures not only to speed up output delivery but also to establish credible performance trails.
Zambia is seeking consolidation of discussions on the planned IMF supported Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme and full conclusion once all policy issues and benchmarks are mutually agreed during the course of the year.
Meanwhile Standard Chartered Bank Managing Director and Global Head of Public Sector and Development Organisations, Daniel Hanna, has joined the list of persons of international repute who are congratulating Zambia for developing a home-grown Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme.
Speaking during a bilateral meeting with Mr. Mutati, Mr. Hanna stated that “according to feedback from our partners, Zambia’s engagement with the IMF is a strong statement to the international investor community that the country is committed to positively transform, stabilize, and grow the economy.”
Among the international organisations and institutional investors which the Zambian delegation has already had preliminary meetings with in Washington are the World Bank, African Development Bank Group, Deutsche Bank, and Atlas Mara.
Today, the Zambian delegation and the IMF are scheduled to continue the Washington circuit of talks on policy and benchmarks [a standard by which performance of a target is measured]. The delegation will also attend the World Bank Africa Group 1 Constituency Meeting for Governors [Ministers of Finance] and a World Bank International Development Association Forum on programme implementation.
Other events lined up for the delegation today include a panel discussion participation by the Minister of Finance at the Spring Meetings Forum which will be exploring the policy environment, opportunities, the regulatory scape, taxation, and challenges of doing business in Africa. The delegation will also attend the Citi Bank Investor Forum on Zambia at which the Minister of Finance is scheduled to make a presentation on the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme and share a status brief on the current and ongoing engagement with the IMF.