PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
MINISTER of Finance Felix Mutati has disclosed that Zambia is ready to access the US$1.3 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He said Zambia needs half a billion dollars of external borrowing this year to meet the budget requirement.
Mr Mutati said the funds must be injected into the budget so that the economy runs smoothly.
In an interview, Mr Mutati said the economic recovery programme which Zambia has come up with is purely home-grown and IMF will not dictate anything.
He said the IMF is in the country to consult with Government on the stabilisation and growth plan for Zambia.
Mr Mutati said Government has since constructed a three-year economic plan programme aimed at stabilising and growing the economy.
He explained that the role of IMF in the economic recovery programme will be to monitor the implementation of the plan.
He said the IMF will also help open up other financing options such as the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB) and European Union (EU) which are expected to give Zambia grants and highly concessional loans.
Mr Mutati said as part of the economic plan, Government will not tolerate subsidies as can be seen from the recent removal of fuel subsidy.
And Mr Mutati has implored financial institutions in the country to ease requirements for collateral to enhance financial inclusion, reports MIKE MUGALA in Lusaka.
Speaking at the Zambia Institute of Banking and Financial Services (ZIBFS) annual ball on Friday, Mr Mutati said: â€œI would like all banks across the country to design innovative products for a common man on the street. People in rural areas must also be captured.
â€œBanks must also enhance capacity in their collateral management. I am asking banks to reduce on the collateral requirements to allow people to have easy access to financial services,â€ he said.
Mr Mutati urged financial institutions to put in measures that will allow people in the country to borrow at affordable rates.
And ZIBFS president Cephas Chabu has urged financial institutions in the country to be innovative and design suitable and affordable products which will bring about economic empowerment for Zambians.
Mr Chabu said there is need for institutions in the country to work together to transform the banking and financial sector.
Mr Chabu said ZIBFS is well-positioned to provide training which will introduce more innovation in banks.
He said product innovation can only be driven by qualified, trained and skilled manpower.
PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka