IMF dispels reports of collapsed talks with Govt

IMFThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) says negotiations for a possible bailout package for Zambia have not collapsed.

Some media reports have suggested that the IMF has for the first time clearly stated that the much anticipated US$1.3 billion loan deal with the Zambian government has been put off.

IMF Resident Representative Dr. Alfredo Baldin says the negotiations are ongoing, but that the fund has asked the Zambian authorities to send a revised program.

Dr. Baldin says there is need for the government to address public debt which has been increasing.

He says the concern is that public debt has been increasing at an unsustainable pace.

The IMF Resident Representative said this in Lusaka during imf the Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa Fiscal Adjustment and Economic Diversification meeting.

Speaking at the same meeting, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Chikuba Mukuli says there is no timeframe for the negotiations with the IMF.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mukuli says the ministry of finance is hoping to end the year with arrears of about K9.8 billion.

He says at the beginning of the year, the ministry had about K19.1 billion arrears, but that through the dismantling program, the government has managed to dismantle these arrears.

And Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) Research Fellow Shebo Nalishebo has noted that Zambia is at high risk of debt stress, thus the need for the government to stick to its debt strategy.

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