Disclose total debt, CSOs challenge govt

By Staff Reporter

The Civil Society Poverty Observatory Group has challenged the government to tell the nation the exact accumulated total of Chinese debt.

Speaking at a civil society state of the economy media in Lusaka, Center for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) head of programmes and research Brian Mwiinga, whose organisation is also a member of the observatory group, noted that there was a lot of secrecy concerning Chinese debt.

He further expressed concern at the huge debt the PF administration has contracted from the time they formed government in 2011.

“This means that the PF government has borrowed US$5.2 billion since they came to power. From the two statements given by former finance minister Felix Mutati last year who told the nation that Zambia’s debt was US$7.2 billion and the latest one given by finance minister Margaret Mwanakatwe who has disclosed that the country’s debt stands at US$8.7 billion, it means that the government has borrowed US$1.5 billion within a year which he says should worry the people of Zambia,” said Mwiinga.

And in her welcoming remarks, Civil Society Observatory Group Chairperson Chenai Mukumba said Zambia’s debt was part of the reasons the International Monetary Fund halted the economic bailout support programme.

Speaking at the same event, Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council Executive Director Engwase Mwale said it had become imperative for Zambia to step up its domestic resource mobilisation efforts with the aim of overcoming aid dependence.