The National Union of Private and Public Educators in Zambia (NUPPEZ) has taken a swipe at politicians who are allegedly politicising the debt swap.
NUPPEZ General Secretary Nelson Mwale said it is regrettable that some politicians have decided to hijack the debt swap so as to gain political mileage ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
He explained that the debt swap was initiated by labour unions with the view to mitigate the sufferings of public workers who are in debt.
Mr. Mwale made the remarks when he featured on DC Talk Radio (90.9) programme called ‘the political spectrum’.
He clarified during the radio programme that the implementation of the debt swap has no strings attached to this year’s general elections set for August 12, 2021.
The NUPPEZ General Secretary explained that the negotiations for the debt swap were an initiative of the labour unions and not government.
He said the unions started nudging government over the debt swap in 2019 after realising that its members were struggling to settle loans they got from various lending institutions.
And when asked why the debt swap programme is being implemented during the election period, Mr. Mwale said it was a mere coincident that the debt swap is being undertaken now.
“The debt swap is being implemented now because this is when government through the treasury has sourced for funds. We started negotiating for the debt swap as unions in 2019,” he said.
Mr. Mwale further said prophets of doom have received a slap on the face after claiming that the debt swap cannot be actualized.
He disclosed that a lot of workers have benefited from the debt swap initiative.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mwale said Public Service Management Division Permanent Secretary Boniface Chimbwali has written a letter to the Bankers Association of Zambia requesting for data for workers who got loans without the consent of government.
He further revealed that the data is meant to assist in reconciling with the banks owed by the public workers.
He said once the reconciliation is completed, workers who were left out in the first batch in July will be captured in August.
“It is possible the banks did not do reconciliation that is why some workers were left out,” he said.
Mr. Mwale said government’s intention is to ensure that all workers that are heavily indebted are assisted by way of a debt swap.
He explained that most workers are highly indebted not because of negligence but because they got loans to upgrade their academic qualifications.