ZAMBIA Revenue Authority Board chairperson Dr Caleb Fundanga says the slight appreciation of the kwacha in recent days can be attributed to China’s commitment to join the Official Creditors Committee for Zambia’s debt restructuring.

According to ZANACO’s Indicative Forex Rates, on Friday, April 22, the kwacha was buying at K17.03 and selling at K17.36.

As of Monday 14:42 hours, the kwacha was buying at K16.78 and selling at K17.12

In an interview, Monday, Dr Fundanga said the Kwacha was likely to appreciate further once the IMF deal materialised, but added that he didn’t want to speculate.

“IMF meetings are ongoing, the Minister is meeting a lot of people on the IMF deal and also we have seen China come on board and probably all these are aspects that improve the sentiments. We should be happy about the appreciation of the Kwacha because you know a weaker currency is always a curse to everybody. I would think Kwacha would appreciate ahead of the IMF deal but I don’t want to speculate,” Dr Fundanga, who is also a former Bank of Zambia governor, said.

“Everybody is looking for the IMF deal and so if it appreciates, it will be a good development which can certainly improve our country to go in the opposite direction if the IMF deal succeeds. Appreciation will mean the foreign exchange will improve and that is what we have all been praying for. The fact now that the creditors might start meeting, it’s a positive thing. It may not immediately translate into more dollars being available until the board presentation, but it changes the sentiments on the significance and so that is what can lead to the appreciation.”

Meanwhile, Dr Fundanga said with China, a major lender coming on board, it may also offer some relief to ensure that Zambia’s debt was sustainable.

“Obviously we don’t know if there will be any debt reduction. Let’s wait for the negotiations and once the negotiations are done, that’s when the paper to the board will go and that will determine if there will be any reduction in our debt. If China, a major lender comes on board, it means it will also offer some relief of some sort which will be quite substantial given that we owe them a lot of money. Let’s wait and see what kind of relief we will be offered and that relief is supposed to ensure that our debt will be sustainable. Which means it is a debt which can be handled with available resources. That’s what debt sustainability is all about,” said Dr Fundanga.