October 20, 2004

IMF policies have had adverse effects on education, says Minister

Education minister Andrew Mulenga has held that there should be relaxation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies on Zambia. According to him, the IMF policies have had an adverse effect on the quality of education being offered in the country. He said government would appreciate if the IMF relaxed its policies, especially on education, because it had realised the need for more teachers in schools. "We need more teachers in schools but we have to follow IMF policies in order to reach the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point," he said. Mulenga said it would be better if the IMF allowed government to spend more than 8.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on personal emoluments as that would allow for the employment of more teachers. Zambian schools are currently experiencing a shortage of about 9.000 teachers despite having 12.000 trained teachers who cannot be put on the payroll due to a ceiling on expenditure imposed by the IMF.
On a different occasion it has also become known by the Zambia Privatisation Agency (ZPA) that US$990 million has been invested in the privatised companies by both local and foreign investors since the privatisation programme was launched in 1993. According to the ZPA spokesperson Pamela Hamasaka, the money was invested in the 259 privatised parastatals. She said that of the 259 companies, 144 were sold to Zambians, 86 to foreigners while 29 of them were sold to joint ventures between Zambians and foreigners. (The Times of Zambia, Ndola)

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