President Edgar Lungu today told International Monetary Fund officials that there is need to bring negotiations to a close.

According to a statement issued by the State House press and public relations unit today, President Lungu said this when IMF Director for the Africa Region Dr Abebe Selassie paid a courtesy call.

The Head of State assured the delegation that Zambia remained committed to spearheading the nation’s development based on an economic stabilisation and growth programme.

“Although we remain committed to continue on the path of economic reform and stabilisation, there is need to bring the programme negotiations to a conclusion. We are committed to move forward with the programme. We are taking painful decisions now, to ensure we make progress in the economy and secure the livelihoods of our people,” said President Lungu.

“Government is unanimous on the need to ensure debt sustainability and fiscal discipline while maintaining a healthy balance between social spending and growth programmes.”

The President said government had taken unprecedented measures such as removal of consumption subsidies and the progression of electricity tariffs to cost reflective levels.

President Lungu was accompanied to the meeting by Minister of Finance Felix Mutati, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Development Affairs Hibeene Mwiinga, Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya and Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Dr Bwalya Ngandu.

And Selassie was accompanied by newly appointed IMF Mission Chief for Zambia Dr Boileau Loko, IMF Executive Director for Zambia Dr Maxwell Mukwezalamba, and IMF Resident Representative Dr Alfredo Baldini.