Prepare well for IMF, Govt urged 

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:13:08 +0000



 GOVERNMENT should only request for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported programme when it has a clear agenda of what it intends to use it for, says development consultant Oliver Saasa.

Professor Saasa, an international economist, warned that a premature invitation of the IMF would put Zambia in an awkward position. He was speaking at the public discussion on Zambia’s economic recovery programme organised by the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) in Lusaka recently.

Prof Saasa said past lessons on the programme indicated that while Zambia attained positive macroeconomic fundamentals, it did not have a human face and there was little correlation with the reduction in poverty.

“Having learnt lessons from yester years and now that we want to go back, the first lesson for me is that please do not look at them IMF) like doctors.

“If you are not ready, minister [Felix Mutati] and your team in terms of what you want to do, spend a bit more time to do the right thing. Get the support from all stakeholders required,’’ he advised. Prof Saasa emphasised that an IMF supported programme must put Government at the centre of the prescription and that Government should not be absolved from that responsibility.

He said Government should not religiously follow the IMF prescription, especially if they were faulty, as doing so might take away its responsibility of being in charge of the programme.

“A premature invitation of the IMF with a programme if they are coming with better information about what should be done and we have insufficient capacity to make good prescription, we may end up with a situation that happened in Zambia before.

“Government and the IMF should have an important role but it must be complementary and ought to be supplementary, it should not be prescriptive and it should be aligned to the capacity to absorb it,” he said.

And speaking on behalf of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Water Aid country representative Pamela Chisanga said Government should ensure that citizens benefited from the IMF programme.


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