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JCTR backs IMF bailout plan but…

PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
THE Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says it supports the planned International Monetary Fund (IMF)-supported economic stabilisation and growth programme for Zambia.
According to an advisory note from JCTR executive director Leonard Chiti, addressed to Minister of Finance Felix Mutati, JCTR will back the proposed IMF support to Zambia if no stringent conditionality is attached.
Father Chiti said Government should increase social protection expenditure to cushion poor families against removal of subsidies.
In a statement issued yesterday by Ministry of Finance head of media and public relations Chileshe Kandeta, Fr Chiti said JCTR will back the proposed IMF support to Zambia if no stringent conditionalities for the bailout programme are attached.
He said the IMF bailout is welcome, but the conditionality of reducing expenditure, or removal of subsidies, must take into account needs of the poor.
“The economic cost of not seeking support from the IMF would be severe for Zambian households and the economy more generally. If Zambia does not access an IMF loan in order to help implement the home-grown recovery plan, it might lead to further debt accumulation, and more public resources being spent on debt repayment, which might result in less investment in health, education, and other services that benefit the citizens,” Fr Chiti said.
And Finance Minister Felix Mutati commended JCTR for being candid in their submission, stating that dialogue and collective ownership are the hallmark of successful home-grown developmental programmes.


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