By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati says that with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on board, the country has a chance to lift up the investor confidence.
Mr Mutati said this will create opportunities for job creation for the youths and restructure the debt from default status to a payment plan going into the future.
He said Zambia’s debt is likely to be flattened and instead of using 78 percent of the GDP on debt repayment, the country will pay less which means it will be able to release resources and attend to most critical needs of the economy.
And Mr Mutati said Zambia failed to clinch an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package from 2016 because the leadership at that time failed to take bold decisions in an attempt to rebuild the economy.
Mr Mutati, who served as Minister of Finance between 2016 and 2018, said despite having opened discussions and made progress with the IMF, Government at that time collectively failed to secure a bailout package.
He said the New Dawn Government under President Hakainde Hichilema was able to make tough decisions in order to rebuild the economy as the President has categorically stated that he would not make decisions to appease people.
He said there is a difference in commitment between the United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Patriotic Front (PF) regime which struggled from 2016 to get the IMF but the deal still remained elusive even with a change of ministers at finance after him.
And Mr Mutati has highlighted that one of the reasons why talks with the PF Government and IMF crumbled, was due to the behind-the-back the decision to get more debt to service the Lusaka- Ndola Dual Carriageway.
He disclosed that while negotiations were progressing well with the IMF, Government then signed a US $1.2 billion Lusaka- Ndola dual carriageway but the IMF questioned why the country was seeking a loan of US $1.3 billion.
“The New Dawn Government under President Hakainde Hichilema said, in order to rebuild the economy, as a nation we shall need to take tough decisions. President Hichilema has said it himself that he will not take decisions in order to appease people.” He said.
Mr Mutati has clarified that the IMF does not set conditionalities but beneficiary countries themselves set conditions on how they want to reboot their economies contrary to speculation that it is the IMF that sets conditions