Economist Noel Nkhoma has disagreed with some opposition Leaders reasoning over government’s decision to contract a foreign firm Lazard to restructure Zambia’s debt.
Mr Nkhoma says the arguments advanced by NAREP President Steve Nyirenda, DP President Harry Kalaba and PeP President Sean Tembo on the financial advisor, he disagrees with their stance opposing the move.
He has insisted that unless they understand the full mandate of the financial advisor, then only will they appreciate that the Assignment is not as simple as they think.
Mr Nkhoma has challenged the critics to name one Zambian firm which successfully delivered on a similar Assignment.
“Perhaps l should ask, do they know that when Zambia was contracting the Euro Bond, a financial advisor and debt underwriter were contracted and paid colossal sums of money in hard currency”, he has said.
Mr Nkhoma said the tenders were not even publicised like the case is now and the Finance Minister should be applauded for his transparency on the matter.
Zambia appointed Lazard Freres as financial adviser to help it restructure its external debt, the Finance Ministry said a move widely opposed by the opposition.
According to Bloomberg, Zambia is seeking to avert a debt crisis looming even before the Covid-19 pandemic throttled the global economy.
The government is hoping that the process will be able to move quickly enough to convince the International Monetary Fund that it’s on track to achieving debt sustainability, unlocking much-needed emergency funding.
Zambia invited proposals in March for advisers for what it called a liability management exercise. The southern African nation had about $11.2 billion of external debt at the end of December, after years of excessive borrowing pushed up interest costs and drained its foreign reserves. The government said it won’t force any lenders into a restructuring.