Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Zambia Government Should Tell the Nation on the Status of Public Debt-CTPD

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The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) is calling on Government to provide a comprehensive update on the current level of Public Debt and Debt Management Strategies.

The General Public has continued to observe indicators of a tightening fiscal position such as loan defaults, increasing domestic arrears, and delays in financing Government and quasi-Government institutions.

The failure by Government to proactively disseminate information about debt management and challenges being faced has created an avenue for fake-news and general misinformation.

In a statement released to the media by Bright Chizonde, the Senior Researcher, CTPD believes that it is in the nation’s best interest for the Government to share public debt information instead of reacting only after international or local whistleblowers disseminate such information.

The most recent official update concerning the level of public debt was provided in September 2019 during the presentation of the 2020 National Budget which estimated at the time that Zambia’s gross public debt stock was about US$ 17.6 billion, inclusive of both domestic arrears and publicly guaranteed debt, representing about 71% of GDP. Ever since, various local and international organizations have continued to present higher statistics such as the 91.6% of GDP forecast as at end of 2019, by the International Monetary Fund.

CTPD also takes note that Government is yet to reveal its new Medium Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS), for the period 2020 to 2022, following the expiry of 2017-2019 MTDS.

The MTDS is critical for not only prudent debt management but also improved local and foreign investor and donor confidence.

CTPD is concerned that the Government has also not shared with the Public concerning the present value of Chinese debt, or the risk it poses to debt sustainability. In the absence of official information concerning the policy direction on public debt, the general public has been left to making deductions and insinuations on the basis of third-party information. Most recently, it was reported that Government defaulted on a loan of US$ 1.4 million towards the African Development Bank, a position which was later confirmed.

The Government, therefore, seems to have adopted a strategy premised on confirming or refuting rumors, instead of sharing first-hand information.

CTPD, therefore, wishes to urge the Government to develop a proactive information sharing mechanism aimed at enhancing transparency and confidence.

11 COMMENTS

  1. The World Banks’ International Debt Statistics(IDS) 2020 report released on October 2 ,2019 reveals that Zambia’s external stood at US $19.1 Billion in 2018.
    In 2008 Zambia’s debt only stood at US$3 Billion and has increased by 633% over a 10 year period.

  2. The government’s strategy is to keep quiet and hope nobody will ask until some organization abroad out of the government control blows the whistle then they quickly move in to do damage control.

  3. These *****s called the PF have destroyed the country. I means, how do you make Bwalya, from kwanaBwalya Jungle, a place whose nearest comparable to an economy is Katanga-Zaire, where there incidentally is no economy!

  4. That information is available to the public. Better yet make an appointment with ministry of finance and boz if you require an in depth analysis. There is no point screaming for things that if you used a bit of initiative, you would get. Kz

  5. This what is termed as deficiency in governance. This position is arrived at after a series of mismanagement in critical economic life line of any entity in this case Zambia as a country. The affects the entire financial stability of a nation for it lacks foresight, security and accountability to deal with the blitz of contemporary challenges that just keep coming. Activist investors, cyber risk, increased corruption impacts on regulatory issues that are of non-effect exhibited in poor leadership strategy. This is lack of acceptable, transparency and accountability to the nation and failure to do the right thing.
    Just as international trading has its rule and regulations in modern national governance, its approach is provide the right information at the right time required. The nation…

  6. This is what happens when your leader has no vision. Hence no plan for the economy.

    They found international reserves at peak of $3 billion and they thought these were spendable balances. They poisoned the private sector with policy inconsistencies while cutting taxes and going on a spending binge.

    Any Ministry could sign for projects, many of which were over inflated and helped the party. They borrowed even more due to this perverse incentive. Leadership was no where. Only denials.

  7. To date, ECL is not fully on board with the situation. We know by now that he does not fully understand how all these things come together, so no surprise there.

    If indeed he knew, why would he allow debt levels to rise so high putting the country at high risk of debt distress? Why would he not cut the size of government or reduce travel and all that circus of senior officers coming to dance at the airport?

    He simply does not get it. The technocrats at Ministry of Finance know the extent of the problem. What we have is challenge of comprehension at State House.

  8. Let 2021 come fast bane.

    There is no shame in seeking help from the IMF when the economy is almost on its knees.

    PF do the right this in your few remaining months in office.

  9. I think we should just ask Edgar Lungu to call for a national day of prayer at least every month. The power of prayer works if we all join hands and pray.

  10. You first tell us Zambians which country in this world doesn’t have debt, if you don’t borrow then you can not develop it is silly to think debt can be the issue , in your house you have heavy debts and you keep on paying, to mulonga water Co. You pay to zesco every month you pay TV etc.
    How do you think the nation can not borrow , where will you get the investment in manufacturing and other industries you are crying for if you can not borrow then forget about infrastructure, no building of houses etc etc.

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