The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has denied a Post Newspaper story suggesting financial indiscipline in the Zambian government.

The Post in its 21st January edition  alleged that IMF deputy director for the African Department David Owen  said this during a joint meeting with the Bank of Zambia and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Mr Owen has described as false reports attributed to him as saying Zambia was currently not ready for any programme to help restore the battered economy owing to alleged Government’s expenditure indiscipline.

In a statement obtained by the Daily Nation yesterday Mr Owen said the statement attributed to him was a fabrication of facts.

He said the IMF was ready to dialogue with the Zambian government on its policy response to the macroeconomic challenges that were facing the country adding that the institution was looking forward to further discussions with government.

“I recently visited Lusaka as part of our engagement with Zambia. During the visit, I met with government, Bank of Zambia, private sector and civil society organization (CSO) representatives. Reports in the media suggesting that I made comments – during the CSO meeting, about preconditions for an IMF programme for Zambia and the performance of the country’s economic team, are false.

“At my meeting with CSO representatives, I was mainly interested in hearing their views and the discussion centred on how best to address the economic challenges that Zambia is facing. As we have said before, the IMF is committed to continuing its dialogue with the authorities on their policy responses to the current macroeconomic challenges facing the country. We look forward to further productive discussions with the Zambian authorities and other stakeholders in the period ahead,” Mr. Owen said.

Some sections of the media on Thursday quoted anonymous sources as saying Mr. Owen said he was concerned that the Zambian economy had continued to weaken.

It is alleged Mr Owen further said any remedial measures to be agreed between the government and the IMF could not hold at the moment owing to the lack of credibility of Zambia’s Treasury as the country had consistently overspent with no respect for the budgeting process. They further alleged that Mr. Owen said that the country was constrained in its revenues but the government equally was not willing to apply any fiscal restraint. According to sources, Mr Owen is alleged to have said during the consultation process, it was agreed that any package to help restore the economy could only be put in place after the general elections.

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