The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Government have commenced the virtual consultative and information exchange mission for Zambia, with the Bretton Wood institution describing the engagement as the most important stage of its relationship with Zambia since 2017.
The first session between the IMF and the Government team led by Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu was held on Monday evening, according to a statement issued by Ministry spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta.
IMF Mission Chief Dhaneshwar Ghura announced during the meeting that his staff team now had the mandate of IMF management to discuss an economic programme for Zambia.
“Since 2017, this is the most important stage in our relationship with Zambia,” the Mission Chief said.
In response, Dr Ng’andu welcomed the decision of the IMF Management and further confirmed that the Government, at the highest level, was in support of the process and is looking forward to the best possible outcome for the economy from the engagement.
“The President (His Excellence Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu) and the rest of Cabinet have today (Monday) reiterated their endorsement of our engagement with you. We are all looking forward to an outcome that will push our economy forward and bring relief to our people,” Dr Ng’andu stated.
Among the preliminary issues tabled in the initial contact virtual meeting is the overall macro-economic environment, public financial management, fiscal accountability, the public debt situation, contracting of liability management advisors, and commitment to economic reforms.
“The Minister also briefed the Fund on various legislation that will be tabled on the floor of Parliament during the current session such as, the Planning and Budget Bill and the Public Procurement Bill. During the current mission which ends on 1 July 2020, the IMF team will not only conduct virtual consultative and information exchange sessions with Central Government, but also engage the Bank of Zambia, Zambia Revenue Authority, and other stakeholders in the economy,” Mr Kandeta stated.
Among the top Government officials who attended the virtual meeting with Dr Ng’andu at the ministry are Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, Permanent Secretary for Economic Management Mukuli Chikuba, Permanent Secretary Budget and Economic Affairs Mulenga Pamu, Accountant General Kennedy Musonda, and Controller Internal Audit Mulonda Chibwe.
Others are Director Economic Management Maketo Mulele, Director Investment and Debt Management Gregory Chomba, and Director Budget Joseph Nonde
Among the Zambian public officials who tuned-in from other locations are Deputy Secretary to Cabinet at for Finance and Economic Development Christopher Mvunga, Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Denny Kalyalya, Ministry of National Development Planning Permanent Secretary Economic Cooperation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Danies Chisenda, and Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor Operations Dr Francis Chipimo.