Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda says the “extreme preposterous allegations” being peddled by Bloomberg and Africa Confidential are aimed at killing the Zambian economy by stopping Foreign Direct Investment.
And Mr. Chanda has revealed that government has stopped engaging Africa Confidential but that it will respond to what he called lies if they breached a certain limit.
At a media briefing today at State House, Mr. Chanda lamented that the lies being peddled by the two media institutions are denying Zambia’s reputation on the international financial market.
“There is concerted attacks on the currency, on the country’s economy clearly by elements that have been paid to peddle lies about the state of the economy. Once the President acknowledges the general difficulties of the times, he is stressing that government is taking strides to address certain issues but State House finds that it is extremely unfortunate that publications such as Africa Confidential and Bloomberg have dedicated the past week peddling lies about our economy to undermine the country in the eyes of the financial market by insisting on non existent default,” Mr. Chanda said.
“So Zambia is in the financial market, it has borrowed money so if you begin to hint on the default, you are actually trying to incite the markets to be nervous about the Zambian economy and therefore ultimately what you hope to achieve is to strangulate the economy by stopping Foreign Direct Investment. Fortunately, the Minister of Finance and Treasury team are competently dealing with the difficulties that are in the economy,” he said.
“We have brought these issues to the attention of the editors at Bloomberg because we still have confidence that that is a respected outfit, we are no longer engaging with Africa Confidential, suffice to say that when their lies extend beyond a certain level, we will tell the nation, we don’t want a ping pong with a publication whose agenda is well known. But just a caution on Bloomberg that they mustn’t fall prey to the very cheap and malicious media propaganda that is being put there,” Mr. Chanda said.
He insisted that the Zambian government has not defaulted on any loans.
“The government is not in default of any loans whatsoever. It is meeting its foreign service obligations, it is meeting its domestic obligation, of course, it has to be acknowledged that with the attendant difficulties which you may have seen in delayed salaries in some of the months but I can tell you, and civil servants can confirm that steps are being undertaking that is why sometimes, actually in the months of March and April, actually salaries in some cases were paid one week ahead of time so we find the recent publications, one by Bloomberg, making very preposterous, extreme preposterous allegations; drawing a parallel between Zambia and Venezuela, for lack of a better term, that makes Bloomberg unrecognisable to us, this is a respected wire firm that cannot descend into quoting fictitious analysts and putting them across,” he said.
He added, “For Africa Confidential, our views are very known, it’s no longer a publication that it was, it is a formerly respected tabloid that has willingly transformed itself into a scandal sheet and that is very regrettable. What we find extremely puzzling is the agenda we have seen in the past weeks where Bloomberg would pitch a story on fictitious analysts hinting at the default (on loans). The Minister of Finance will continue to update the nation. She is so transparent, the debt servicing mechanism is so transparent, she tells the nation where we are.”