IMF, Zambia To Continue Debt Relief Talks
Muhammad Irfan 1 month ago Fri 05th March 2021 | 09:10 AM
Lusaka, March 5 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 5th Mar, 2021 ) :The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said talks with Zambia over a possible bailout would continue over the next few weeks to address remaining fiscal challenges.
The debt-ridden southern African country became the continent's first coronavirus-era sovereign default after skipping a $42.5-million (35.5-million-euro) interest payment on a eurobond in November last year.
Virtual talks between the two parties started on February 11 and ended on Wednesday without a final decision.
"Key challenges remain," it added, citing fiscal reforms to be implemented and efforts to make more efficient use of public resources among others.
"Resolving the macroeconomic challenges will require navigating the need to continue to support the population.
.. through the pandemic in a constrained fiscal environment," he noted.
Zambia has applied for loan restructuring under a new G20 debt suspension initiative.
The copper-rich country missed a second $56.1-million eurobond coupon payment in January, shortly before reaching out to the G20 framework.
The IMF called for greater transparency on debt and expenditure, and a halt on the incurrence of domestic arrears.
It pointed to a recent sharp increase in copper prices as an opportunity to "help smooth the adjustment".
Zambia's government said the discussions had been "positive and constructive".
"We... will pursue our discussions on detailed police measures to return our economy and public finances to a sustainable trajectory."The government is grappling to recover the economic setbacks of coronavirus and garner public support ahead of general elections in August.