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Green Party alarmed by ballooning external debt, demands quarterly reports on debt stock

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The opposition Green Party says it is extremely alarmed by Zambia’s sky-rocketing external public and private debt stock since 2011.

Green Party President Peter Sinkamba said the most unfortunate situation is that the public is kept in the dark on the total debt stock for the country.

Mr Sinkamba said in the interest of transparency, accountability and good governance, the Green Party demands that Finance Minister Felix Mutati makes a full disclosure of the current status of the external public and private debt stock as well as the domestic public debt.

He said the party is also demanding that the public disclosure be made on quarterly basis.

“Three days ago, Finance Minister signed confirmation agreement of a $246 million credit facility with Export- Import Bank of India (EXIM). Meantime, government is in the process of acquiring a $1.6 billion loan from the IMF. Several other loans have been contracted in the recent months,” Mr Sinkamba said.

“When Alexander Chikwanda was Minister of Finance, he had an open door policy on the fiscus issues. He used to publish quarterly bulletins in public media of expenditure and other information. This made it easier for the public to track budget expenditure and conduct debt sustainability analyses on regular basis.”

He added, “We are aware that at the end of 2014, Zambia’s stock of external public and private debt stood at $6.9 billion or 24 percent of GDP compared to $3.6 billion or 15 percent in 2011. We are also aware that the domestic public debt increased from $2.8 billion or 12 percent of GDP in 2011 to $3.8 billion or 17 percent of GDP in 2014.”

Mr Sinkamba said, “After issuing separate sovereign bonds in September 2012, April 2014, and July 2015, the country’s public debt to international investors significantly increased by about $7 billion, through Eurobonds alone.”

“Meantime, government has since 2014 borrowed more funds from private banks and other investors. It has been very difficult to track government these loans, especially from China, Middle East and other Eastern Asian States. It’s hard to know how much the country owes other external debtors, besides Eurobond debtors, since the public is not given updates.”

Mr Sinkamba said the Green Party is extremely worried because the share of central government’s debt from multilaterals has fallen sharply since 2012, while the share owed to private banks and investors has increased.

“Further, though inflation has reduced from 22 percent to 6-7 percent, we are worried that the fiscal deficit is on the increase and may reach as high as 20 percent, if stalled infrastructure projects countrywide have to be financed this year or next. We foresee a situation where government may be tempted to borrow more from private banks and investors,” he said.

“Though easier to obtain, such funds tend to be more risky to the nation than multilateral loans because of potential of the loans being acquired by vulture funds. It is in this regard that we find it imperative for the Finance Minister to make quarterly full public disclosure of the debt stock so that the public not only keeps track of the fiscus but also becomes aware of the bottom line of national balance sheet as well as potential risks at play.”

He added, “After all, government is managing the funds on behalf of the public. So, the public must be in the know.”

67 COMMENTS

    • Mushota
      There is no need for this. Green Party are making a functioning Givernment look bad when they are not. Here is the thing : debt is good for you. There is no such thing as bad debt and or good debt. We all have debt, certainly if you don't have debt , you are probably not trustworthy. A lot of debt is sign of a good reputable country. I have no problems zambia keep borrowing I have a PhD Thanks Bb2014,2016
    • Munone
      I think Sinkamba has a good point. We need to watch out and restrain ourselves from falling back into the trap. I have supported removal of subsidies because the real beneficiaries of such are the rich, we are suppose to save billions of kwacha and therby avoid borrowing but the oppositions, more especially UPND cry foul. Sinkamba is going to be the next president of Zambia, his holistic approach is proving to be health for Zambian demicracy. Not this guy behind bars who claim to be educated yet is ever insulting government and racing cars against presidential motorcade. My suggestion is, HH must be pay for his sins dearly and after that ban him from doing politics, we need Sinkamba as main opposition leader.
    • Nostradamus
      Peter Sinkamba would have been a great leader, unfortunately he has been using marijuana promotion as if the party is for smokers. Planting trees or cassava would have won him respect.
    • zagaze
      The mark of a failed leadership is when you hear him/her say we are asking investors to come and partner with us. When you hear this, just know, you are dealing with a person irrelevant to the true cause of african struggle, prosperity and independence. You are instead dealing with a coon. A slave in the making if not already made, getting some brownie points so that he can drive home to his wife and kids in a Jag or Range rover.
    • Shaka
      No my friend I know you are specialised in Puppy Hair Dressing just come out in open so that we can be sending our dogs and other pets to you. Any way it is a good business and continue with your PHD advert company
    • MMD Cadre
      Munone and your hatred for HH, why don't you get a life for yourself you horribly bunch of a sad loser and a low life.
  1. danielle
    I wish Sinkamba was president of the largest opposition party upnd, his arguments are always issue based. Not that remandee, it's always ''stolen votes, hyena, right to be heard, bla bla, bla". I am pro-pf but bwana Sinkamba you have my support, check these guys
  2. Mwansa Musanse
    Well done Mr.Sinkamba.These are some of the issues that opposition should be talking about.Just like Dr.Chishimba talks about corruption.Please pressure the President to take action on his Ministers who he said were corrupt.
  3. maloza
    Sri Lanka's Debt Crisis Is So Bad The Government Doesn't Even Know How Much Money It Owes. Between 2009 & 2014 Sri Lanka’s total government debt tripled and external debt doubled, as the country engaged in a number of costly undertakings, such as attempting to build a new, multi-billion dollar city in the middle of a jungle (which includes the world’s emptiest international airport), constructing one of the most expensive highways ever made, as well as other pricey endeavors, such as spending $42 million just to remove a rock from the harbor at Hambantota. Trying to develop its infrastructure to increase its economic potential has plunged Sri Lanka deep into a pit of debt, pushing the country to the brink of bankruptcy and prompting an IMF bailout. The official estimate of what...
    • maloza
      CONT'D.. Trying to develop its infrastructure to increase its economic potential has plunged Sri Lanka deep into a pit of debt, pushing the country to the brink of bankruptcy and prompting an IMF bailout. The official estimate of what Sri Lanka currently owes its financiers is $64.9 billion — $8 billion of which is owned by China. The country’s debt-to-GDP currently stands around 75% and 95.4% of all government revenue is currently going towards debt repayment. This debt situation is clearly not sustainable. Sri Lanka may be in a debt trap that it can’t get out of. Unfortunately even with such bad examples to learn from, PF is taking Zambia into the same debt trap.
    • Skiper
      You haven't mentioned figures accurately the way Sinkamba has mentioned. Sinkamba is talking about real figures and not your assumptions
  4. Zambian Citizen
    It is public knowledge that since 2011 when the PF came to power, it's lead strategy was infrastructure development. All the infrastructure I see around the country is obviously expensive. Round about 2012/13 the main income spinner, copper, had a price plunge which hasn't fully recovered up to today. So why repeat the same thing over and over?? This Sinkamba time waster has no strategy for his party to gain votes so he has taken the simple route of blurting rubbish in our unprofessional media who will publish anything to remain relevant. Elias Chipimo and Andiford Banda are the calibre of opposition that we need; Elias has impressed many with his 20% proposal, WHY CAN'T THIS F.O.O.LISH POLITICIAN COME UP WITH DEVELOPMENTAL IDEAS AS WELL????
    • Spaka like lilo
      It is the people of Zambia who will suffer paying Back that money PF officials are millionaires from those borrowed funds , the people have the right to know. What are you theives afraid of??? Is that why you closed the post newspaper????
    • Skiper
      Spaka like lilo don't be emotional here. Just debate with a sober Mind. You mentioning what Elias Chipimo said, but we have never heard of what you are bringing here. You must listen to Sinkamba whenever he is talking he talks sense anyway. He spoke about what te Constitution says when Magistrate Simusamba referred HH case to the high court on Certificate of Committal, Sinkamba said we don't agree with Simusamba by commenting on Certificate of committal because the Magistrate has no powers whatsover to comment about Committal as the matter has to go to the high court and Sinkamba also said the Attorney-general clarified that the DPP can appoint any officer in his/Her officer to sign on Committal as the law prescribe for that.
    • Zambian Citizen
      Same points of arguments...that's why I call you donkeys...my point is even if you criticise, come up with a solution. That is why I have mentioned Elias Chipimo. The post story-no matter how it is explained to you, you have accepted that is was closed by ECL/PF, ie. you are donkeys!!! That's why I dont waste time discussing it with you dundumwezi donkey types!!!
    • Spaka like lilo
      Peter sinkamba is only allowed to talk because he is politically insignificant. If he was leading the largest opposition or was any threat to lungu he was not going to be allowed to talk, he was not going to be allowed to meet well wishers in any public place, he was not going to be allowed to hold any press conferences, he was not going to be allowed free movement, he was not going to be allowed to hold any party rallies or meetings…. His party would be banned by threats of violence from certain parts the the country…..
    • Zambian Citizen
      You see?? That is irrelevant and totally off the mark. It's all political for you!! What I am saying is if you compare Elias Chipimo's agenda and Sinkamba's, it is different because Chipimo brings developmental ideas to the table; Sinkamba's comments are about politics and criticising: WHO DOESN'T KNOW ZAMBIA HAS A BUDGET DEFICIT??? So rather than repeating the same old stories over and over, bring ideas and solutions to the table instead. Simple!!!!!!!!!!
    • Spaka like lilo
      Lungu can not live with a free opposition.....anyone who is a threat to him is delt with through violence and underhand undemocratic tacktics. Ask kambwilli. You can not discuss development when you are not even free to greet well wishers in the street.
    • Zambian Citizen
      Who is not free to greet well wishers on the street?? Which country are you in?? Better still, are you normal???
    • Spaka like lilo
      HH and GMB were not allowed to greet well wishers in public , they were not allowed to hold and meetings or any press conference , Nevers mumba and his mucoloured were gassed in a chipata class room by PF police for holding a fund raising event,......
    • Zambian Citizen
      Chipimo can have and has been having public meetings, Andiford Banda can do that as well, Edith Nawakwi does the same...the problem with the people you have mentioned is that they don't hold responsible meetings; they incite and there always ends up being violence, and because of that they attract the attention of the police...
    • Spaka like lilo
      Those are pro PF people bought by lungu.....no one who is deemed a threat is allowed public meeting.....how can never mumba having a fund raising event in a class room be inciting people. ??? To you kaponyas any one who presents opposing views and Can gather a crowd is seen as inciting people.
  5. The foreigner
    Mushota you promote yourself as a Phd holder unfortunately your comments add no value, all you do is support PF even if other people make comments which make sense. Please don't look like an id**t. This is a wrong platform for you. Give better reason why you support other people than giving childish comments.
    • Mushota
      I fell the truth. An informed opinion. None political partisan and more importantly your definition of adding value is clearly flawed. Thanks BB2014,2016
    • Ivo
      I fully agree with 'Foreigner'! - Mushota's claim to a PhD obviously does not include any common sense for economics. When she writes: "We all have debt, certainly if you don’t have debt , you are probably not trustworthy. - A lot of debt is sign of a good reputable country", I can only shudder. But since she once declared to "hate Zambia", her 'advice' probably is intended to destroy it.
    • Spaka like lilo
      The quality of teaching at a university can be judged by the quality of students who graduate. Some university should drop in world rankings if at all it awarded people PHDs for nothing.
  6. robmwale
    Debts are not good for every nation. Every economist will agree that you only borrow when you have deficiency in your revenue envelope to carry out your capital projects. In the same vein you need a debt management plan to pay off the debts and thereafter remain afloat in cash flow. The Government 's debts may not have been used in a prudent manner in that the return phase in terms of cash flow generated from the targeted investment project phase may be sunk cost . For example , proceeds from the Eurobond was used for construction of dip tanks, dams,National registration cards implementation in northern, luapula and copperbelt prior 2016 election, 2016 election material delivery, Presidential initiative empowering project for marketeers, construction of road,school,hospital police...
  7. robmwale
    police station, housing project in new district. These project may be good but there a social cost and ripple effect is that taxes in various forms may be increased or introduced in order to realise fund to service the debt. This has nothing to do with HH, UPND, Green Party , Nawaki or winter .. The reality will dawn on when we start servicing the loans. The cost of living will be very higher and social welfare programs may be scrapped. This is my assessment....
    • mwakale
      @robmwale. You have accurately expounded how the PF led govt lost it in their quest to deliver a massive infrastructural development plan. What is evident is that they borrowed without a well defined debt management plan as evidenced from the sky rocking prices in almost everything. Being loans, the bigger potion was suppose to go into economic venture projects like making farm blocks more attractive to the investors both local and foreign to set up industries which will add value to the primary products and forming industrial packs in all the ten provinces in order to tap the potential offered in each province as compared to pump 90% of the loans into social related projects like making most township roads to bituminous standard. In a country like Zambia, you can not afford to borrow to...
    • mwakale
      @robmwale CONT-In a country like Zambia, you can not afford to borrow to finance social projects when your industrial base is very weak. It is called misplaced priorities.
  8. NEZ (new educated Zambia UPND ) BEST BLOGGER 2016.
    Is this this when green party are waking up from their slumber when we in upnd have been telling you all along
    • Munone
      Green party is no match to UPND, the latter is full of crap and violence while the former is issue based approach. Viva Sinkamba and Abash HH
    • Spaka like lilo
      Peter sinkamba is only allowed to talk because he is politically insignificant. If he was leading the largest opposition or was any threat to lungu he was not going to be allowed to talk, he was not going to be allowed to meet well wishers in any public place, he was not going to be allowed to hold any press conferences, he was not going to be allowed free movement, he was not going to be allowed to hold any party rallies or meetings…. His party would be banned by threats of violence from certain parts the the country…..
  9. Katongo
    To those who remember that at one time Zambia was classed as a highly indebted country. I think it is prudent that Zambia avoids falling into that category
  10. The foreigner
    Years back Zambia embarked on structural adjustment programs not forgetting the HIPC and few years later we have forgotten the motive we went through such a programs - these selfish leaders are talking you backwards. It's like a pig after washing it, it goes back into the dirty. It's not bad to borrow money if you out it into good use and get a return. The problem with Zambia you borrow to settle unpaid salaries, EL travel around the Global and unknown investments #malls.
    • Zambian Citizen
      So that bridge in Shang'ombo that has enabled the people there to move freely into Namibia for jobs is a waste of money?? The same bridge because of accessability has attracted a Finnish company to set up a sugar plantation and set up sugar and bio-electric plants and that is a waste of money??There are other examples but this is an old story we know , why not come up with ideas instead???How can a normal thinking person repeat the same thing over and over??? That is why we have classified your kind/species as DONKEYS!! You have nothing to contribute to the common cause except condemn and talk rubbish.
    • Spaka like lilo
      Zambia citizen After blowing $10 billion you still have 300 plus people dying in UTH per month, you have reports of Zambia children among the most malnourished in the world and you are going back crawling with your tails between your legs to the IMF for a bailout , that is pathetic.
    • Zambian Citizen
      ...yaba...now I believe...DONKEYS WILL BE DONKEYS...you can't convince them unless hazaluza hagain the head donkey says otherwise...pathetic creatures!!!!!
    • Spaka like lilo
      Zambian citizen. You are mentioning a bridge and a finish company.....we are pointing out that 30 people a day are dying in UTH after you blew 10 billion and you are taking us back to IMF........you throw a tantrum...just tell how and why 30 people can be dying every day in UTH and where are the investors you told us will come.....or better still tell us how many of the 500,000 jobs promised by lungu have materialised......don't take cover now will you ???
    • Zambian Citizen
      With a population of over 3m in Lusaka UTH has come under immense pressure as it was built for a population of 500,000. The govt. has commissioned two district level hospitals in Chilenje and Matero and plan to build another in Kanyama if I am not mistaken. With Levy Mwanawasa hospital in Chainama, in the long run with extra investment in equipment and specialised staff, this problem will be eased on the population of Lusaka.
    • Spaka like lilo
      When is after more investment, is that after the IMF ?? The bottom line is 30 people die every day now in UTH and we are being led back to the IMF. We are broke.
    • Zambian Citizen
      So if we don't borrow and upgrade/build better hospitals, how do we solve the problem????
    • Spaka like lilo
      Responsible governments have targeted infrastructure investments with economic returns to feed the economy with jobs and taxes and further infrastructure can be undertaken.....not this building frenzy for roads that will never be of any economic value, only benefitting PF corruption....then you are broke...
    • Zambian Citizen
      I mentioned specific district hospitals built by government, your explanation is vague. Be more specific and give references, please.
  11. Skiper
    We agree with Magistrate David Simusamba when he stated that in the past, a certificate signed by another person other than the DPP but signed in his or her name was accepted and the practice was established. This observation is agreement with one key constitutional provision which Attorney General Likando Kalaluka relied on during the hearing of complaint by the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC) where we the Greens pursued the removal of five Constitutional Court Judges from sitting on the Constitution Court bench for gross misconduct and incompetence was implied power provided for in Article 271. This Article provides that “a power given to a person or an authority to do or enforce the doing of an act, includes the necessary and ancillary powers to enable that person or authority to...
  12. Skiper
    authority to do or enforce the doing of the act.” The Attorney General explained that on account of this provision, any constitutional office bearer has power to delegate any one of his or her officers to act in his or her name to do or enforce an act. That is constitutional and therefore perfectly legal. Prima facie, this explanation may apply to the DPP as well, as noted by Magistrate Simusamba. However, we do not agree with Magistrate Simusamba’s decision to refer the matter for judicial review to determine the validity of the DPP’s committal certificate on account that it was signed by someone else other than the DPP. We disagree with his ruling that the subordinate court has no jurisdiction to comment on the validity of the certificate, and that the committal certificate is the...
  13. Skiper
    is the exclusive preserve of the High Court. To the contrary, we believe Magistrate Simusamba had jurisdiction under 267(4) of the Constitution of Zambia to comment and rule on the validity of the certificate. According to Article 267(4), a court is not precluded from exercising jurisdiction in relation to a question as to whether a person, authority or institution has performed the function in accordance with the Constitution or other laws. All in all, HH’s lawyers should have avoided pursuing preliminary issues to lessen his agony in prison unnecessarily. Already, over 45 days have lapsed in prison, and his lawyers are still pursuing preliminary issues. This is unnecessarily exacerbating his agony in prison. Instead of pursuing preliminary issues aggressively, it would have been...
  14. Sam
    Debt borrowed for good purpose and when used properly is ok. How much do we have show for the Eurobond? How about the 120 million dollars to Zambia Railways? Is Mulungushi Textiles open?
    • Spaka like lilo
      Can you imagine after spending that money on ZR it only managed to transport 5000 tons of goods ??? That is what one waggon pulls in other countries ?
  15. Zambia in the Sun
    I totally agree with Danielle @2. Sinkamba is always very figurative, objective and factual in his interventions on economy, energy, agriculture, justice, international relations etc. No wander his manifesto was during last year's elections voted by civil society organizations (Action Aid and others) as the best manifesto for the 2016 elections. I liked the way he intelligently argued his case for the US$36 billion marijuana industrialization. It not surprising that the manifesto even appeared in Forbes Magazine. I also liked the way he argued his case on HH's lawyers which LT published. I understand that HH's lawyers have decided to abandon the Judicial Review and instead go to trial. Perhaps it is high time Zambians took this guy seriously
  16. Spaka like lilo
    Peter sinkamba is only allowed to talk because he is politically insignificant. If he was leading the largest opposition or was any threat to lungu he was not going to be allowed to talk, he was not going to be allowed to meet well wishers in any public place, he was not going to be allowed to hold any press conferences, he was not going to be allowed free movement, he was not going to be allowed to hold any party rallies or meetings.... His party would be banned by threats of violence from certain parts the the country.....
  17. The foreigner
    Even if Sinkamba is not a person capable of being a president his comments make sense. PF is taking us back into debt because they are mismanaging the money borrowed. If you borrowed to diversify from dependance on copper into agriculture then we would say it's ok to borrow and invest, knowing it will pay off. But the problem is that they are bunch of liers - tomorrow they will say we used the money borrowed on ICC survey!
  18. The foreigner
    In 1999 vulture fund Donegal International bought a $44 million debt Zambia owed the government of Romania for just $3.2 million. Debts owed to private creditors were not included in the HIPC scheme, even if they originated with a public lender such as the Romanian government. Donegal pursued the Zambian government for the debt, eventually reaching an agreement that Zambia would pay $16 million of the $44 million. However when Zambia missed a payment Donegal demanded the full $44 million through a British court case. The court refused to sanction an enforcement of payment of the $44 million and criticised Donegal for dishonesty. However Zambia was still made to pay $17.5 million. So we are now going back and Phd holders think it Ok.
  19. The foreigner
    Throughout the many years it took for Zambia to complete HIPC, debt repayments continued costing between $160 and $250 million per year, more than spending on health and education combined. Zambia finally completed HIPC in April 2005 and had around $4 billion of debt cancelled. That's why he is asking for transparency so that we all how what's happening. Leaders need to be unaccountable.
  20. robmwale
    Zambian citizen , I thought you are more civilized than your opponents/enemies. You are so sarcastic in language that I wonder whether you love President Edgar Changwa Lungu. I have never heard the President insult HH or his political opponents as donkeys.... Why should you a supporter have the audacity to insult when your master is not insulting? Think BIG and be nice to all people... Brotherly kindness is a virtue of true godliness.. Jesus was derided and ridiculed but he never insulted back. Sometimes, you avoid expressing your thought unwarrantedly to maintain soberness in you life. Discuss whether debt is good for Zambia or not? How , where and what is debt for and its repayments?
    • Zambian Citizen
      How can you discuss the same issue over and over??? It is madness!!!! Debt is good if put to good use and managed prudently. I personally have no big argument with government borrowing and investing in infrastructure we can that is of world class standard.
  21. Jay Jay
    I have said time and time again Peter Sinkamba and his party need a make over and a rebrand ...this guy backs everything with research..look at his last article he gave HH free advice that his blood sucking lawyers are charging him millions kwacha in man hours. Peter needs to put his marijuana promotion aside and champion other policies as a blue print for his Party. Zambians are religious people who are brainwashed into believing that marijuana is evil you can not change that over night. Peter try another angle...Sata used the 90 day lies and they believed him; use transparency, accountability as one of the ethos of your party and include women in your party.
    • mwakale
      @ Jay Jay. I totally agree with you. Peter Sinkamba can be a force to reckon with politically if only he discards his mbanje or dobo inclined manifesto as it is associated with delinquency or moral decay. He debates professionally but when it comes to social standing he is regarded as a social misfit because of his marijuana belief.
  22. Arms folded
    I read somewhere that the hardest people to convince in Zambia are cadres and the 'papa' calling congregants. Peter Sinkamba should take the free advice of rebranding his party.. Put the marijuana proposition aside (you can come and implement it when you win) and hit hard on other issues like economic mismanagement and a cadrerised (my word) society. EL has created a self feeding leadership vacuum (no im not UPND, its there for all to see) by letting some of his most trusted lieutenants run like wild guns in the west, making questionable fiscal decisions or none at all and making the country more polarised than it has been in the last 26 years! We are being ruled by cadres, this platform is being dominated by cadres from both ends of the spectrum, there is little room for...

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