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THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) package will stabilise Zambia’s macroeconomic situation through boosting investor confidence and introducing sound macroeconomic policies under IMF oversight.

Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD), Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo said the IMF would provide balance of payment support and technical support on financial and debt management which Zambia currently needed. Mr Mwaipopo said the coming on-board of the IMF would lead to private sector confidence and pave way for restructuring of the Eurobonds while crowding in other funds from cooperating partners.

“We strongly urge the Zambian government to take this opportunity to successfully engage the IMF for the benefit of Zambia’s economy and its people,” Mr Mwaipopo said.

Mr Mwaipopo said considering the 2019 budget, it was evident that the rising public debt remained the greatest impediment to achieving set out budget objectives.

He said more was needed to be done to improve Zambia’s macroeconomic performance.

“Zambia’s macroeconomic performance has been poor for the period 2017 to 2018 as indicated by reduced economic growth prospects from 5 percent to 4 percent, widened fiscal deficit from targeted 6.1 percent of GDP to expected 7.4 percent of GDP, depletion of international reserves from US$2.1 billion to US$ 1.8 billion and a widened current account deficit from US 340 million to US$ 756.5 million.”

Mr Mwaipopo attributed this poor performance to increased public debt from US$ 12.45 billion to US$16 billion and thus requiring more debt payments for servicing.

“Although inflation has relatively been stable within the 6% to 8% target range and the exchange rate was stable for the most part of 2018,” Mr Mwaipopo said.

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