IMF Misinformation


DELIBERATE attempts to twist information on Government’s economic recovery programme are meant to raise unnecessary apprehension among Zambians and investors in the country. By now many Zambians ought to know that there are some unpatriotic elements that have always pushed negative agendas against the Government of President  Edgar Lungu for some time. Suffice to say that the reason for such negativity is not surprising as they have coated their personal hatred for the Government with political and economic commentaries. We recall and are cognisant of the simple fact that in the run up to this years’ elections, all that Government embarked on was deliberately misinterpreted to imply political expediency. Even infrastructure projects that were embarked on since the Patriotic Front government came into power were purposefully misinterpreted to imply Government wanted to gain political expediency. Now the same clique of individuals has shifted its attention to circulating falsehood on the pending Government and International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic bail out discussions. What is Government’s position regarding the IMF discussions on the economic bail out? Is Government eager to engage IMF into such discussion? When the Minister of Finance Mr Felix Mutati took office , he pointed out that Government would embark on a vigorous economic recovery programme and running to the IMF for financial aid was not what he envisaged. Instead, among the things Felix Mutati mentioned was that there was need for the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to work on strengthening the tax base to maximise on collections. Not only did he say that, but also that Government would consider removal of some subsidy. The Finance minister reiterated Government’s position while in Washington DC last week on Thursday when he addressed Zambian Embassy staff on the Government’s economic plans over the next five years. It is clear that Government will roll out the removal of subsidy gradually by putting social safety impact programmes in place to cushion the impact of the austerity measures on the poor. This would not be done in a short time frame but over a longer period. This Government is not so careless as to make prompt decisions that would cast the majority of our people into untold suffering. The resolve by the ZRA to look into introducing legislation that would widen the tax base to capture the informal business sector speaks volumes of how Government intends to embark on the economic emancipation. Diversification of our economy to agriculture and industrialisation programmes are some of the viable measures that Government has shown the determination to advocate for in the next five years. The indication by the Republican President that Government would in the next five years streamline expenditure on capital projects to only economically viable roads, for instance, give a clear position that rushing to engage the IMF is not an immediate option for now. Moreover the Vice-President Ms Inonge Wina was very categorical on the subject matter that Government has not engaged the IMF when she addressed Parliament on Friday-Cabinet will inform the nation on the roadmap on how to engage with the IMF. We think that there is absolutely no need for Zambians and investors to be tensed up on Government proposal for strict expenditure in a bid to recover the economy. It is a normal and viable alternative to averting the economy from total collapse. So all those who want to use their duplicitous skills to sow confusion in the minds of Zambians should stop consecrating their lives to deceiving others.