The IMF staff team was led by Dhaneshwar Ghura during the virtual meeting from June 22 to July 10.
The discussions covered the authorities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent economic developments, the economic outlook and policies for 2020 and the medium-term.
“The social and macroeconomic impact of the COVID-19 shock, on top of a severe drought last year, will be heavy. Growth is forecast at around ‑5 percent in 2020, substantially lower than envisaged at the beginning of the year, and the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to increase. Fiscal pressures in 2020 have increased due to significantly lower revenue collections and higher spending needs. Zambia has requested support under the G20 Debt Service Standstill Initiative, which would provide temporary fiscal space this year,” Ghura said in a statement issued at the end of IMF virtual consultative meeting with Zambia.
“Discussions covered both near- and medium-term policies to address these challenges and the underlying macroeconomic vulnerabilities, including the main elements of the revised 2020 Budget with a focus on spending for the COVID-19 health, social and economic response. Discussions will continue as the authorities determine their policies and priorities in the formulation of the revised 2020 Budget, as well as the medium-term fiscal stance needed to restore debt sustainability, revive growth and lower poverty.”
The IMF has thanked the Zambian authorities for the constructive discussion.
“Staff express their gratitude to the Zambian authorities for the constructive discussions that were held and look forward to continuing discussions,” the IMF stated.
IMF staff held meetings with Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu, Bank of Zambia Governor Denny Kalyalya, senior Government and Bank of Zambia officials and the private sector.