The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has called on the opposition and other stakeholders opposed to the refinancing of the first Euro Bond by a Turkish Firm to provide alternative solutions as opposed to simply criticising government.
Commenting on the announcement by government that a Turkish firm is interested in refinancing the 750 million dollars Euro Bond, YALI President Andrew Ntewewe said those opposed to the idea of refinancing should be heard by government and ensure that other ideas are taken on board but that criticising without solutions would not help the country in any way.
Mr Ntewewe said the issues raised by stakeholders about how the Euro Bond was spent though credible were water under the bridge and that what the nation should be discussing and focusing on is how to deal with the Bond because even if it is the PF who acquired it, the issue remains a national issue which will be inherited by whoever forms government next.
“However; we want to also think that those that are opposed to the euro bond in a democracy they must be heard and they must be able to provide alternatives, for instance if PAC or any other political party was to be in office how would they have done it?
“The very coming of armchair critics which we are seeing is irresponsible opposition! What a responsible opposition must be able to do is advise on alternatives in terms of how to move forward.
“We therefore call on all stakeholders that instead of criticising government and being armchair critics can you provide solutions and alternatives for the government to make a proper decision,” he said.
He said government was under obligations to pay the Euro Bond.
“As the Young African Leaders Initiative we have critically analysed the proposition by government and desire to refinance the first Euro Bond of 750 million US Dollars with a Turkish Firm. We want to believe first and foremost from our analysis that the Euro Bond is here, it was gotten by the Zambian government and the state is obligated to ensure that payment is done.
“Any political party that will be in government it doesn’t matter whether it will be the NDC, PAC, UPND, MNT or MMD, or any other political party that would form government they will find that there is a bond of 750 million dollars which has to be paid to these investors,” he said.
He observed that refinancing was the best alternative as it comes with benefits.
“For now, it is inconsequential how the bond was collected or how it was utilised, much as the merits and demerits can still be debated in terms of the utilisation, we believe that it is water under the bridge.What must be looked at today is how do we then deal with this bond. What are the best alternatives of paying it off?
“Government believes the best alternative is to refinance and our understanding is that refinancing will come with it a lot of benefits; the payment terms are going to be flexible, interest rates is going to be lower and it will be paid on a long-term basis. That is very important because it will allow the government to spend resources on the key social sectors of the economy which are health, agriculture and education. So we want to believe that the proposal makes a lot of sense,” he said.