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International Monetary Fund team in for talks

A High-powered delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in Malawi to engage various stakeholders, including government officials, ahead of discussions for the next Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme.

This follows the conclusion, in June 2017, of a three-year ECF programme amounting to $156.2 million which was approved in July 2012 during the leadership of immediate past president, Joyce Banda.

The mission team, which is being led by the mission chief, Pritha Mitra, from the IMF headquarters in Washington DC, arrived on Thursday at a time when discussions had already  started with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development at Capital Hill in Lilongwe.

IMF Malawi Resident Representative, Jack Ree, confirmed the arrival of the team, saying all is set for the discussions so that the country gets another ECF programme.

“They will also attend part of the Mid-Year Budget Review to get a clear picture of how Malawi authorities have used the 2017/18 finances that were factored in the national budget before discussing the next ECF programme.

“We both (IMF and Malawi), need to find ways of addressing Malawi’s huge infrastructure investment needs, including the energy sector, in a fiscally sustainable fashion,” Ree said.

In an interview, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Davis Sado, confirmed that the team has already started discussions with different stakeholders about the next programme to do with ECF.

“I can confirm that the team is here in Malawi and has already started discussions with officials from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development. They will also meet representatives of various captains from the private sector apart from attending the Mid- Year Budget review,” Sado said.

He said Malawi should expect a different programme considering that the previous one was based on issues to do with major pressing matters that affected the running of the country.

“This time around the new programme is likely to look at how to boost the economic growth of the country. We are talking about microeconomic issues. They will meet different parastatals and private sector players to have a glimpse of what the next facility should be,” he said.

Close to the end of 2017, IMF and Lilongwe said Malawians should expect a new programme probably in the second quarter of 2018.

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