By JAMES KUNDA –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has called for a speedy conclusion of negotiations on Zambia’s impending programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mr Lungu said Zambia was committed to moving forward with the IMF programme and that the Government was already taking ‘painful decisions’ to ensure progress in stabilising the economy and securing the livelihoods of Zambians.
President Lungu said the Government took unprecedented measures such as removal of consumption subsidies on maize and fuel and the progression of electricity tariffs to cost-reflective levels.
He said the Government was committed to spearheading the nation’s development based on an indigenous economic stabilisation and growth programme.
“Although we remain committed to continue on the path of economic reform and stabilisation, there is need to bring the programme negotiations to a conclusion,” the President said.
Mr Lungu was speaking in Lusaka on Tuesday when IMF Africa Region director Abebe Selassie called on him at State House.
This is according to a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by the State House Press and Public Relations Unit.
President Lungu said the Government was unanimous on the need to ensure
debt sustainability and fiscal discipline, while maintaining a healthy balance between social spending and growth programmes.
The President was accompanied to the meeting by Finance Minister Felix Mutati, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Development Affairs Hibeene Mwiinga, Bank of Zambia Governor Denny Kalyalya and Dr Kalyalya’s deputy, Bwalya N’gandu.
Dr Selassie was in the company of IMF Zambia Mission Chief Boileau Loko, IMF Zambia executive director Maxwell Mukwezalamba and IMF Zambia resident representative Alfredo Baldini.