LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia will resume talks with the International Monetary Fund on an aid program in October and hopes to get IMF board approval by the end of the year, one of its finance officials said on Tuesday.
The country , which is Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, has suffered from the steep commodity price drop of recent years. Last March, it began talks with the IMF about a potential loan package after agreeing that its budget deficit was not sustainable.
“The engagement with the fund is pretty advanced. We have addressed most of the structural issues and agreed to them,” Finance Permanent Secretary Mukuli Chikuba said during the launch of a mid-year economic report.
“The work that is remaining with the IMF includes spending plans for the rest of 2017. We will resume engagement with the fund in October and hope to get board approval by December.”
The IMF said in June it may grant Zambia up to $1.3 billion in a three-year credit facility to help plug a budget deficit of around 7 percent.
But it said Zambia needed to take concrete steps to achieve fiscal consolidation targets outlined in the 2017 budget which include improving revenue collection, limiting borrowing and scaling back on new capital projects.
Zambia’s economy will grow by 5.0 percent in 2018, 5.1 percent in 2019 and 6.1 percent in 2020, up from 4.3 percent in 2017, the ministry of finance said.
Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing and graphic by Jeremy Gaunt