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By JOHN SAKALA
A team from the Ministry of Finance of Zambia, led by the Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu and an IMF delegation, led by David Robinson, continued discussions during April-May in a second virtual mission on a potential IMF programme in view of progressing Extended Credit Facility (ECF) discussions.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said the Ministry of Finance and the IMF have reached a broad agreement on the macroeconomic parameters, fiscal targets and policy objectives.
Mr Yamba said significant progress was made in detailing the policy reform agenda to restore public finance and debt sustainability, while at the same time securing Zambia’s development objectives, and ensuring social protection for the most vulnerable.
“It was jointly agreed that Zambia and the IMF will continue policy discussions at the appropriate time to finalise the timeline for implementation of the agreed reform package for the adoption of the ECF-supported programme. In the meantime, the broad agreement obtained on macroeconomic parameters and fiscal targets will allow the authorities to progress in the technical preparation of debt restructuring talks in the context of the Common Framework as well as with the commercial creditors.,” he said
And Dr Ng’andu thanked the IMF for the productive engagement and look forward to continuing discussions on the policy package implementation to ensure Zambia’s return to growth and debt sustainability.
“The reform path is clear. We are committed to securing an IMF programme which would support Zambia’s structural reform efforts to strengthen our response to the shocks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure a solid foundation for a prompt and inclusive economic recovery.”
“The Zambian authorities express their gratitude to the IMF for the constructive, fruitful and forthright engagement. To stabilize the economy severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Zambia requested a formal IMF programme under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) window in November 2020 and launched its Economic Recovery Programme 2020 – 2023 in December 2020,” he said.
The Ministry of Finance continues its engagement with creditors, and in late January, Zambia requested a debt treatment under the Common Framework agreed by the G20 and Paris Club members, which the Ministry hopes will contribute to its goal of restoring Zambia’s public debt sustainability.