Chief Government Spokesman Chishimba Kambwili has defended the PF government over criticisms regarding the mounting debt stock for Zambia.
Mr Kambwili told a weekly media briefing at his office that Government is being prudent in the contraction of all external loans.
He said this following cabinet’s approval for the contraction of two loans worth 114 million US dollars from the World Bank and from the African Development Bank for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam wall.
Mr said that the rehabilitations of the Kariba Dam wall will be undertaken by the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe and facilitated by Zambezi River Authority.
‘First of all, there is no lender who is going to lend to a borrower who has not capacity to pay. This is just simple politics by detractors mainly the opposition. We are a responsible government and we are borrowing within the limits for us to pay,’ he said.
Mr Kambwili added, ‘When we a contract any debt, there is an assessment conducted to see whether we are able to pay back because borrowing has to correlate within the GDP. You know that the World Bank and the African Development Bank are very strategic and well experienced in the area of finance and they cannot give loans to a government that cannot pay.’
He continued, ‘The Kariba Dam is jointly owned by Zambia and Zimbabwe and we did a joint application for a joint loan, the World Bank refused because Zimbabwe has no capacity to pay, so the Zambian Government has taken up the responsibility to get the whole loan on behalf of Zimbabwe and we will lend that money to the Zambezi Water Authority because the Zambezi Water Authority has the capacity to pay. This is a sovereign loan which has been guaranteed by the Republic of Zambia, so there is an assessment done before any loan is contracted.’
the World Bank refused because Zimbabwe has no capacity to pay, so the Zambian Government has taken up the responsibility to get the whole loan on behalf of Zimbabwe
The Chief Government Spokesman has since assured the people that government is within limits in its borrowing.
‘People might talk about these borrowing but look, there is no development that can come without borrowing, who among us can build a house from a salary, for everybody to build a house you have to build. I don’t think if we start paying in the next 15, 30 years, we will be paying with a good heart knowing that this is the infrastructure we received from the borrowing,’ he stated.
At the same briefing, Mr. Kambwili disclosed that Cabinet has contracted a loan amounting to US$15,500,000 from the African Development Bank to support the implementation of the Transforming Rural Livelihoods National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project Phase 2 in Western Province.
Mr. Kambwili said 16 districts are expected to benefit from the implementation of the water and sanitation project which will contribute to poverty alleviation and improved health of Zambia’s rural population through the sustainable access to water supply and sanitation.
He also announced that Cabinet approved the appointment of new board members of the Zambia Revenue Authority board after the expiry of the three year tenure of the previous board members.
Mr Kambwili said the names of the new board members will be announced by the Minister responsible in due course.