GOVERNMENT has refuted claims that it was poised to surrender Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) to China for allegedly failing to meet its debt repayment obligations.Chief Government spokesperson Dora Siliya said yesterday that reports circulating on social media that China was proposing to take over Zambia’s international airport for defaulting on foreign debt repayment were false.
Ms Siliya, who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, was reacting to reports in Africa Confidential claiming China had proposed to take over Kenneth Kaunda International Airport should the Zambian government fail to repay the huge foreign debt on time.
She said China had no such intentions and that the reports in Africa Confidential should therefore be dismissed.
Ms Siliya also dismissed reports that Government wanted to sell public assets such as the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and that it had started talks with a Chinese firm to take over the running of ZESC0.
“Government’s position is that all stories relating to the sale or takeover of public assets such as ZNBC, KKIA and ZESCO by China are false. ZNBC digital migration and KKIA projects are not even complete yet. How then can one refer to a loan default in view of grace periods?” she wondered.
Ms Siliya said ZESCO was a strategic institution that could not be sold to a foreign firm and that any such decision would have to be made by Cabinet.
She however said so far, there has not been any Cabinet decision to sell ZNBC or ZESCO
And Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa has said that Zesco is not up for sale and that it has not been discussed anywhere in the government circles.
Clarifying speculations that are reported on social media and following a malicious article by African Correspondence suggesting so, Mr Nkhuwa said he wanted to put the erroneous claims by putting it straight and simple:
“In my ministry, I am in charge of Zesco and there has been no correspondence and no one has come here to see us to buy Zesco.”
He said Zesco is a strategic company to the republic of Zambia and thus government handles it carefully, adding that government led by President Lungu is a very responsible government and will not do things in a haphazard manner.