DISCUSSIONS with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be successful, and Government is working towards accelerating the process to ensure the implementation of the 2018 budget is not affected, Minister of Finance Felix Mutati has said.
He told Parliament yesterday that part of the financing structure for the 2018 budget includes support from bilateral and multilateral partners, and most of them depend on the views expressed by the IMF.
Mr Mutati was responding to Sesheke member of Parliament (MP) Frank Kufwakwandi (UPND) who wanted to find out when discussions with the IMF are likely to be concluded, noting that further delays could affect the implementation of the 2018 budget.
Mr. Mutati told Parliament that government is very keen to accelerate the conclusion of the discussions with the IMF, stating that before the end of this year, a staff mission will come to validate the information that has been prepared before having a timetable for the conclusion of the discussions.
Mr. Mutati said that significant progress has so far been made in undertaking policy and structural reforms under the economic stabilization and growth programme which the IMF has acknowledged and commended government.
Mr. Mutati said that these reforms are in agriculture, energy and financial management and that the main outstanding issues under discussion with the IMF are the need to take measures to slow down on the pace of debt accumulation and to return Zambia’s debt risk from high risk to low risk and scaling up fiscal consolidation measures particularly expenditure restraint.
He says the IMF has asked that these measures be accelerated.
Mr. Mutati also stated that Cabinet on 6th November, 2016 discussed these issues and gave a clear policy direction, which includes developing a new financing profile that will ensure the reduction of debt distress from high to moderate over the medium term and to ensure that debt remains sustainable thereafter.