Former Finance Minister, Ng’andu Magande, has tasked government to disclose the inflexible conditions being demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which have prompted it to begin negotiating for flexible ones for the release of the US$188 million.
In an interview in Lusaka on Monday, Magande wondered why government was negotiating for flexible conditions with IMF for the US$188 million second distribution if the country had met all the conditions.
On Friday last week, Finance and National Planning Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, said Zambia had resolved to lobby for flexibility from the IMF to release the US$188 million tranche distribution following challenges it is currently having with official creditors for debt relief.
Read more: Zambia seeks IMF flexibility in quest for $188 million facility, as negotiations with creditors drag
This has prompted Magande, the former Minister of Finance in the MMD administration to challenge government to tell Zambians the inflexible conditions the IMF was demanding for Zambia to meet its debt restructuring programme.
He recalled that Musokotwane had announced that Zambia had scored a 100 percent on all the conditions set by the IMF and was wondering why the country was being punished with such a success record in the performance of the economy.
“Now Dr Musokotwane is saying Zambia is trying to negotiate for flexible conditions outside the country’s major creditors for the IMF to release the US$188 million. But what we should be asking probably is what are the inflexible conditions being demanded by the IMF which have made it difficult for us to receive the US$188 million.”
“I know that the IMF release the first distribution of US$185 million but we do not know what it was used for. We are being told Zambia is doing so well but the reward is that the country is being punished, how can that be possible,” Magande wondered.
Also read: Zambia’s struggle with creditors not over, suffers delay in IMF extension of $188 million facility
He said the UPND was advised soon after assuming the governance of the country about the debt they were inheriting and how they should have managed it but did not listen to the advice.
Magande said instead, the government listened to the IMF which promised it was going to help in negotiating for debt restructuring but that things had turned out not be hence plunging the economy into more troubles.
“If we are doing so well as an economy and we passed the test, we ordinarily should be rewarded but the IMF is now saying they cannot release the money. What has happened because we do not know why we are being punished. We know that part of the conditions was about reforms which we are told have been fulfilled,” Magande said.
He is an economist, served as Minister of Finance and National Planning from 2003 to 2008. Magande served as a member of Parliament for Chilanga Constituency from 2006 until 2010 and the Chairman of the MMD Party Committee on Economy and Finance.
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