MINISTER of Science and Technology Felix Mutatai says in trying to revive the economy, government is independently having to make some tough choices and these should not be seen as IMF conditionalities.

In an interview, Tuesday, Mutati said sometimes, in order to save a life, one needs to cut a limb.

“I think what you need to get very clearly is what I have said that we set our priorities, now if in ZESCO as we stand now ZESCO owes various creditors $3.5 billion and is not able to settle the money. Number two, the level of tariffs in ZESCO are insufficient to support the operations of ZESCO, okay, and therefore, they are making losses. If you are running a business and ZESCO is a business and you are bankrupt, surely you have to do something about that. You don’t need IMF to come and tell you that you need to do something regarding your revenue generation capacity. You don’t need them to come through.You don’t need them to come through and say you have to attend to the cost structure because that is reality,” Mutati said.

“You do not need IMF to come and tell you that you need to address the indebtedness that ZESCO has got. That, you should be doing yourself; nobody should come and tell you the obvious. So you have to create a solution as yourself and say this is a problem I have got how do I create a solution to the problem that I’m facing, you understand, so it is a problem. So let us not interpret our inability to solve problem and pass it on as a condition. It is our problem we have to find an answer whatever that appropriate answer is we have to find it, you understand, so it is not a condition you know. So sometimes you have got to cut a limb in order to save a life.”

Mutati said Zambians should move away from thinking IMF imposes stringent conditionalities.

“Just be realistic that this is a problem so you have to look at what are the options that are available in order to come out from that problem and you are the ones who suggest to IMF that what I think I should do is this, I should go to cost reflective tariff for example isn’t because it is obvious. What I think I should do is look at my cost structure, what I will do is look at my debt and restructure it, those are prudent decisions that any management should be able to make,” said Mutati.

“So we should move away from this Zambian thing that they are imposing conditions. They are not imposing conditions because you are in the ICU, you need to come out alive and to come out alive sometimes it is painful you may need to swallow bitter medicine isn’t it? It is your issue, it is not an IMF issue so it should be treated as our issue and not their issue. It is not made in Washington, it is made in Zambia and therefore if it is made in Zambia, we are responsible for creating the solution. At the moment there is no issue about privatisation.”