International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has dispelled fears among Zambians that the institution’s bailout package for the country will come with harsh conditions that will negatively affect the citizens.
A number of local stakeholders have criticised the pending IMF bailout package being sought by the New Dawn Government of President Hakainde Hichilema saying it won’t be the solution to Zambia’s economic problems.
Speaking on ZNBC TV’s Sunday Interview, Ms. Georgieva said the IMF was aware of fears among some Zambians that its bailout package for the country will come with harsh conditions.
She said the IMF over the years has transformed into a better global institution that means well for nations seeking bailout packages like Zambia.
“I was meeting university students who asked the same questions about harsh conditions. I told them this is not the IMF of your grandmothers. Look at me and other people in the institution who include Africans. We promote good governance,” she told ZNBC’s Sunday Interview.
Meanwhile, Ms. Georgieva said Zambia’s debt restructuring will take time because it involves more than two creditors.
“The debt structure in Zambia is quite complex. We have private, we have public sector creditors, we have a sizable amount of money being discussed. Every time when there is a complex that the restructuring can take some time. We have seen over a year progressing in bringing all creditors at the table, getting China, a larger creditor for Zambia to accept responsibility as a co-chair of the creditors and final advancement in what the final deal may look like. We are not part of these negotiations but what we do is we provide simulations possible pathways to solutions and we find great interest into this simulations well that will translate into a solution the sooner the better. We should not rush also to have a solution at any cost because the solution has to be good for Zambia. If it is detrimental to Zambia’s interest, it is better to take time to reach a conclusion to ensure that it is the best possible deal for Zambia. We are playing our role which is to show what our pathway to which our agreement would be,” she said.
Ms. Georgieva further commended the UPND government for efforts it has made in improving transparency and fighting corruption.
THE IMF Managing Director said she has had fruitful discussions which highlight Zambia’s enormous potential given its abundant natural resources and a dynamic and entrepreneurial young generation.
The IMF Chief has concluded her visit to Zambia with a call for creditors to move forward and reach an agreement on a debt treatment as soon as possible.
Speaking during a Town-hall discussion at the University of Zambia -UNZA-, Ms Georgieva said the IMF will urgently convene a new round-table with lending institutions and creditors to speed up debt negotiations for indebted countries like Zambia.
With support from National Democratic Institute, the CSO Debt Alliance partnered with the University of Zambia Business and Economics Association – UNZABECA in hosting a town-hall Public Lecture were Ms. Georgieva Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund gave a lecture on how Zambia can build a more Resilient and Inclusive Future for all.
Meanwhile, economist and former Finance Minister Edith Nawakwi is one of the Zambians that have expressed misgivings over the IMF deal.
Ms. Nawakwi has warned the UPND led Government against relying heavily on the pending International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package for the local economy recovery.
”Let us all agree and there is no debate about whether the Bretton Woods Institute was meant for bailing out international creditors. The IMF is not going to build a school. The IMF is not going to give us money for Agriculture or for fish ponds. Far from it, so, if you have a Minister of Finance whose only plan is based on’ well I am waiting for the package from Washington’. Then we are in trouble and I think that we need this open debate to discuss what the alternative measures as a nation should put in place since the IMF package is a farfetched idea. Even if it came it would not improve the economic welfare of someone in Misisi, or my relatives in Kalikiliki,” Ms. Nawakwi said.