Zambia to share data on austerity measures with IMF - finance minister

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia will share data on its planned austerity measures with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to get the lender's feedback on their appropriateness for macroeconomic sustainability, its minister of finance said on Thursday.

In February the fund rejected Zambia's borrowing plans, saying they risked making it harder for the southern African country to sustain its debt load. An IMF team is expected in Zambia next week.

"We wish to state that as this work is proceeding, we will refrain from making public statements on this matter until we have a firm position with the IMF," Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said in a statement.

Mwanakatwe said the nation's reserve position as of the end of June 2018 was $1.82 billion and external debt at the end of March was $9.37 billion.

Zambia's central bank said in May the nation financed its current account deficit of $139.2 million in the first quarter of 2018 through a drawdown on international reserves.

The GDP growth target of above 4 percent in 2018 for Africa's second-biggest copper producer remains feasible and growth in the medium term is expected to be between 4 percent and 5 percent, Mwanakatwe said.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

First Published: 2018-07-19 12:45:42
Updated 2018-07-19 13:27:34

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