FINANCE Minister Felix Mutati says cooperating partners including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will have to fit into the government’s economic recovery programme or they will not be needed.
Speaking during the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) Public discussion forum on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform programme, Mr. Mutati says government will not need the IMF if it does not fit in its economic recovery plan .
He says the driving force for the IMF should be the country’s economic recovery programme.
He says government is taking ownership and responsibility of the execution of the recovery programme and thus cooperating partners and other stakeholders must fit into the programme.
And Mr. Mutati says the country has seen some signs of economic recovery since January this year citing the tax revenue collection in excess of K3.4 billion which was above target.
He says since December 2016; government has raised financing in excess of K2 billion a big portion of which has gone towards liquidating arrears.
Mr. Mutati also disclosed that this week, government will be paying almost a K150 million towards the clearing of pension arrears.
Speaking at the same discussion forum, IMF Resident Representative Dr. Alfredo Baldini says the IMF should not be feared as they exist to provide support through financing to countries.
Mr. Baldini however, noted that Zambia’s key economic challenges are keeping inflation under check, mobilizing domestic revenue and developing a financial sector.
He has since advised the country to reset its policy mix and strengthen implementation.
And Development consultant Oliver Saasa says government must have a clear picture of what it wants to do and should not allow to be dictated to by the IMF, but that the institution must only come in to compliment and support government’s efforts.
Mr. Saasa says government should seek get advice from various stakeholders if it does not know what to do, stating the premature invitation of the IMF may not help the country but may land the country into a difficult situation as has happened before.
And Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Representative Pamela Chisanga bemoaned that there is very little government/CSO engagement on the IMF.
She has since appealed to government to accommodate the CSOs in the IMF discourse.