THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) says discussions are underway regarding the Zambian government’s plea for emergency relief assistance towards the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responding to a press query, IMF senior communications officer Lucie Mboto Fouda said discussions with the Zambian government were ongoing.

“The Zambian authorities have requested fund support for their economic programme to restore macroeconomic stability as well as emergency financial assistance to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. Discussions with the authorities are ongoing,” Fouda stated.

And the Fund noted the Zambian government’s request to Eurobond holders to suspend debt service payments for six months, starting on October 14, 2020.

“We take note of the Zambian authorities’ request to Eurobond holders to suspend debt service payments for a period of six months starting on October 14, 2020. We also note their commitment to finding a consensual and collaborative resolution to the debt sustainability issues Zambia is currently facing,” stated Fouda.

Last week, government asked for a suspension of debt interest payments on all three of Zambia’s Eurobonds for a period of six months, effective October 14, 2020, in response to the country’s challenging and stressed fiscal situation.

According to a statement availed by Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, the Ministry of Finance placed a request to bond holders of the US $3 billion worth of Eurobonds to freeze interest payments for a six-month period in view of government’s tight fiscal constraints and challenging macroeconomic environment.

Zambia issued three Eurobonds worth US $750 million, US $1 billion and US $1.25 billion in 2012, 2014 and 2015, with the US $750 million and US $1 billion bonds maturing in 2022 and 2024, respectively.