IMF CONFIRMS NO RELIEF PACKAGE BECAUSE OF HIGH DEBT
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed that Zambia will not receive its request for emergency Covid-19 relief funding because of the country’s unsustainably high levels of debt.
IMF Director of Communications Gerry Rice confirmed that the fund had received Zambia’s request for emergency Covid-19 relief funding, as well as an earlier request for support for Zambia’s broader economic reform programme.
Dr Rice reiterated, however, that any IMF financial support, including emergency financing, must be contingent on steps to restore debt sustainability.
Speaking to a virtual press conference held on Thursday evening, Dr Rice told journalists that Zambia did not meet the necessary criteria to qualify for IMF financing.
“Zambia’s public debt is on an unsustainable path, under current policies,” he said.
The director went on to explain that without significant steps to stabilise its debt, any loans granted to Zambia would only make for a “poorly designed program” that would “make matters worse for a country and its citizens”.
The IMF is set to continue to engage in talks with Zambian authorities on their economic response to the pandemic, as well as their medium-term macroeconomic objectives and policies.