Zambia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have reached a broad agreement on the macroeconomic, fiscal targets and policy objectives, a senior government official has said.

Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said Monday the two parties continued discussions at the second virtual meeting held in April and May on a potential IMF program in view of progressing extended credit facility discussions.

“Significant progress was made in detailing the policy reform agenda to restore public finance and debt sustainability, while at the same time securing Zambia’s objectives, and ensuring social protection for the most vulnerable,” he said in a release, noting the two parties agreed to continue policy discussions at an appropriate time to finalize the timeline for implementation of the agreed reform package for the adoption of the program.

In the meantime, the broad agreement obtained on macroeconomic parameters and fiscal targets will allow the authorities to progress in the technical preparation of debt restructuring talks in the context of the common framework as well as with the commercial creditors, he added.

Zambia’s Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu thanked the IMF for the productive engagement, saying that the government was looking forward to continuing discussions on the policy package implementation to ensure that the country returns to growth and debt sustainability.

“The reform is clear. We are committed to securing an IMF program which would support Zambia’s structural reform efforts to strengthen our response to shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure a solid foundation for a prompt and inclusive economic recovery,” he added.

Zambia requested a formal IMF program under the extended credit facility window in November 2020 to stabilize the economy severely hit by the COVID-19.

The southern African nation has also continued to engage with creditors and requested a debt treatment in January under the common framework agreed by the G20 and Paris Club members which the government hopes will contribute to its goal of restoring public debt sustainability. Enditem

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