Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe has described as successful the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, which were held in Bali, Indonesia.
In a statement to ZANIS in Lusaka today Mrs. Mwanakatwe said during the Bali Annual Meetings, she led a delegation from Zambia in various meetings, sessions and events of both the International Monetary Fund [IMF] and the World Bank Group (WBG).
She said the successful bilateral meetings with development partners, cordial business meetings and the investor forums which they had in Bali are signals that Zambia’s economic reform policies and programmes are of international market standard and will continue to attract quality stakeholder interest, both locally and in the international community.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe said their views resonate with the thoughts of their development partners that debt vulnerabilities over the last few years pose the risk of reversing the benefits of earlier debt relief initiatives.
She said this is why within the current session of Parliament, she will be presenting specific details on the implementation of austerity measures related to debt.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe said the effort is already being complimented by solid policy frameworks, plans for adequate fiscal and external buffers as stated in the 2019 Budget Address, and sustainable and transparent lending practices as espoused in the Medium Term Debt Strategy.
She pointed out that this year, over US$ 800 million has so far been paid in debt service and that they have also not registered any default.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe stressed that otherwise, the investors in their Eurobonds and other financing facilities would have activated cross-default provisions in accordance with international debt market regulations.
And the Minister said her team took the opportunity of being in Bali to address two business forums separately organized by Standard Chartered Bank and Standard Bank for investors from Asia, Mainland Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe stated that members of her delegation to Bali included her counterpart the Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme, the Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet Christopher Mvunga, Bank of Zambia Governor Denny Kalyalya, Ministry of Development Planning Permanent Secretary Chola Chabala, and Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary for Economic Management and Finance – Mukuli Chikuba.
She said they have since requested the WBG and IMF, based on their respective mandates, to help Zambia in further strengthening the fiscal position by improving debt management capacity, increasing domestic resource mobilization and deepening local capital markets.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe said government stands on firm grounds in implementing the Public Financial Management Act through quarterly reports.
She added that they have also embarked on a progress tracking system that will help to strengthen monitoring and demonstrate that tax-payers money is being used prudently.
“ There is need for a clear picture on the size of the Zambian economy due to its changed structure from 2010 to date, therefore, we have set aside funds in the 2019 budget for rebasing the Gross Domestic Product in order to better measure our economy,” she said.
This is according to a statement availed to ZANIS in Lusaka today.