World Bank tells Zambian govt to control spending

The World Bank will give further funds to Zambia when it implements measures to control spending and ensure such funds benefit its people, a senior Bank official said on Tuesday.

According to Reuters, Zambia has accessed $10 million of the World Bank’s approved $85 million in budget support for 2009 so far. The rest has yet to be released because the country has failed to meet some lending conditions.

World Bank’s country manager Kapil Kapoor told Reuters in an interview the Bank would continue with the existing lending conditions to ensure the money was used to benefit the people.

“We are very mindful of the fact that resources provided to Zambia by the World Bank have to be paid back and therefore they must be optimised and used in a manner that will generate the highest returns for the citizens of Zambia,” Kapoor said.

“We work very closely with the government to minimise delays but at the same time ensure that the necessary preparatory work is completed in a manner that is satisfactory for all parties concerned so as to maximize Zambia’s return on investment.”

Last month, the World Bank concluded negotiations for a further $75 million loan for road infrastructure and was preparing a $50 million credit line for the irrigation sector.

“This money (we) will start disbursing as soon as the government implements certain key actions that have been agreed jointly between government and cooperating partners and are aimed at improving the effectiveness of government expenditure.”

Zambia last month said delays by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in releasing funds to the southern African country of 12 million people were holding back development projects. (Editing by Phumza Macanda and Elizabeth Piper)

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