THE Government needs to continue engaging various stakeholders so that as a nation we come up with the best economic recovery package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), says Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) executive director Lewis Mwape.
Mr Mwape said that the IMF negotiations needed to be handled with care as it had the potential to negatively affect the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP) as well as the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a situation that would increase poverty.
He said it was important that the Government pursued a smart development agenda anchored on economic, social and the environment unlike in the past where it only focused on the economic aspect, leaving out social sectors such as health and education.
‘‘We are hopeful that Government will continue to engage various stakeholders so that as a nation we can come up with the best economic recovery package from the IMF.
‘‘The IMF deal, if not well handled, risks affecting the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan and also attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ he said.
Mr Mwape said the acceptable IMF economic recovery package needed to consider the cost of production which if left unchecked would adversely affect 40.8 percent of the population living in extreme poverty who would be compelled to buy basic commodities at exorbitant prices.
He said that the civil society had a responsibility to double their efforts to advocate for poverty reduction and inequality driven by the high cost of living.
He said that the ZCSD, would partner with Government and other stakeholders in ensuring that SDGs were not only the preserve of technocrats but also placed in the people’s agency for accountability and transparent.
The non-governmental organisation has appealed to all stakeholders to take responsibility and that cooperating partners, civil society organisations, the church and the media needed to work together and support Government efforts in the process of localization and popularization of the SDGs.