The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed intentions to undertake a field staff visit to Zambia next month to exchange views on policies government is undertaking to stabilize the country’s economy.
Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta disclosed this in a statement, saying it came to light at a bilateral meeting that Zambia’s Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu held with the IMF Director for the African Region Abebe Sellassie, deputy director Africa region David Robinson, Mission Chief Dan Gura and other senior IMF officials.
Kandeta explained that Dr Ng’andu was accompanied to the meeting by Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, deputy Secretary to Cabinet Christopher Mvunga and Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya.
Others were Ministry of National Development Planning Permanent Secretary for Monitoring and Evaluation Danies Chisenda and Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary for Economic Management and Finance, Mukuli Chikuba.
Kandeta stated that the Zambian delegation also held a bilateral meeting with the French executive directorate to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Meanwhile, Kandeta revealed that the United States of America Treasury had expressed readiness of the world’s biggest economy to support Zambia in its pursuit of a programme with the Fund.
Kandeta stated that US deputy assistant secretary for Africa, Middle East and Multilateral Development Banks Eric Meyer said that America’s was that Zambia needed to be on an IMF-supported programme.
“Our view is that Zambia should be on a programme (IMF supported). We wish you the best in your efforts to stabilize your economy and look forward to improved mutual trust in your relationship with the Fund,” Kandeta quoted Meyer as having said.
Kandeta added that the US Treasury representative commended Zambia for the bold decision to maintain the VAT tax system, which decision, according to their observation, helped to remove uncertainty in the business community in Zambia and among the country’s development partners across the globe.
He stated that Meyer also commended Dr Ng’andu for re-affirming the Zambian government’s commitment to addressing the debt situation and also for the measures taken to dismantle domestic arrears.
And in responding to the discussion points by Meyer, Kandeta stated that Dr Ng’andu reiterated that the Zambian government recognized the role, which the Fund played in assisting countries to effectively manage their macroeconomic environment and stabilize their economy.
He stated that Dr Ng’andu had also invited the US to consider investing in the Zambian energy sector with a special focus on solar and thermal energy options.
Kandeta also stated that Dr Ng’andu said efforts were being stepped up to ensure that the current efficiency challenges in domestic resource mobilization related to tax evasion, smuggling and other tax avoidance practices, were overcome.