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Alba Iulia
Friday, October 15, 2021

We have Inherited “Empty” Treasury, HH tells the BBC

Headlines We have Inherited “Empty” Treasury, HH tells the BBC

President Hakainde Hichilema has described as horrifying the extent of corruption and theft of public funds that took place under the PF administration.

President Hichilema has told the BBC that he has inherited what he described as an empty treasury and that people are still trying to make last-minute movements of funds, which are unauthorised.

He added that the debt situation had not been fully disclosed by the PF government.

President Hichilema said the hole is much bigger than was expected and his administration has a huge task of correcting the situation.

“People are still trying to make last-minute movements of funds, which are unauthorised, which are not theirs,” President Hichilema said.

In the BBC interview, the new president described the treasury as “literally empty”.

He added that the “hole is much bigger than we expected” and the debt situation had not been “fully disclosed” by the former government.

“There’s a lot of damage, unfortunately,” Mr Hichilema said.

He added that his government would show “zero tolerance” towards corruption, and would get to the bottom of what he called the illicit movement of funds very soon.

“I don’t want to pre-empt things but what we are picking [up] is horrifying,” the president said.

“You’ll feel nobody can do a thing like that but it’s being done. People have done it. They are still trying to do things now.”

Mr Hichilema also said there were “a lot of people who are not working, but are on the payroll” of the government.

Mr Hichilema said the government was committed to restoring its credibility among lenders.

The government would enter into talks with China, which he was confident would “understand that we’ve inherited a very difficult situation”, the president said.

“We had known for a long time that there was non-full disclosure. So now that we’re in, we are beginning to see that the debt numbers that were being talked about officially are not really the comprehensive numbers.”

“You have deals that were structured outside the normal channels; we’re talking about debt that was accrued, acquired without parliament approval,” Mr. Hichilema said.

“One of our jobs right now is to dig into, trying to zero in on what the true debt is, both foreign and domestic debt. We are working through it and we’ll get to the bottom of it soon.”

46 COMMENTS

  1. We know all those Cadres on Zesco payroll but without any qualifications except being qualified to be PF Cadres. Patiently waiting to see thief’s go to Jail. Yes the country is broke but this should not be an excuse, use creativity and intelligence to fix the mess like you promised.

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  2. Ever since I started listening to budget presentation during the MMD time, I have never heard of a Finance minister who has reported or presented a budget surplus. Theres always a deficit which is covered by borrowing and donor funds. So when HH says the cofers are empty what does he really mean? What I know is even this month civil servants will be paid and obligation listed for payment will be paid. They will be paid from taxes being collected as projected. I feel sorry for people who don’t understand that every government on earth matches its expenses to tax collections and not that they have money sitting in the treasury.

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  3. The USA government, the biggest economy even prints money when they fall short, just like they did recently. Please people we want HH to succeed when he says what is not right don’t just support. Those with skills in the subject he is talking about explain to the ignorant. Otherwise you will crerate another PF in shortest time. Every government collects taxes to meet its obligation every month. Government is not like a business which makes profits and keeps them in a reserve account. Bane when you here government reserves its majorly commodities like gold they keep the cash kept is mainly for imports not things like salaries those are covered by collections of taxes. In short ba Bally just manage what is there by reducing expenses.

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  4. I fear we have a president who is more concerned about his own image. Mr president please be yourself, these people you are trying so hard to please will dump you as soon as they are finished with you. Robert Mugabe used to be Sir Robert at one point when he was a darling of the west. State capture is when your economy is controlled by outside influence. We may rejoice these events now but mark my words, the very minute HH turns against his friends, our economy will collapse within hours. Zambia belongs to us not the Europeans so why rush to Europe to wash your dirty laundry?

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  5. Ten years of PF rule has brought the country to the brink of collapse. Apart from all those hypocritical cadres of course, who all keep quiet now. Apart from Obese Brother #1 CK who got caught in the act. I think we need much bigger jails to house Edgar China Lungu and his thieving friends!

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  6. @ Dominion
    Well said..educate these UPND danderheads including HH..and why is Mutinta all over the place with her unsightly outfits…..yak…is she also part of the Cabinet

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  7. I watched this interview last evening its sad but I am not surprised as PF of Lazy Lungu were reckless corrupt individuals and this will not sink with PF cadres as they do not understand the difference between empty treasury and a paltry $2 billion in foreign reserves. If you watched the interview you will note that HH did not say we will rush to IMF but said we will first tighten up and be prudent.
    To State House Media Team how do you let a President go live on BBC using a laptop with a poor background and no white light spot light…image is everything you have to pull up your socks….those days of a lazy media shy work shy President are long gone.

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  8. … still movement of money from Zambian coffers, why is he not acting that he is now in charge? Could this not be a mark of incompetence on his part? Has he already forgotten that he is no longer opposition leader but President? Bally should not take Zambians for a ride. He should begin to work, and work to deliver on the many promises he made. Why is it taking him ages to announce his cabinet? What is he afraid of announcing? The many tribesmen and tribal cousins he has lined up as his cabinet ministers? Five years is a very short period. Before he knows, we will be entering a new year soon and expectations of Zambians will still remain high. Zambians have been lied to by politicians for too long and now want to begin seeing results.

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  9. Alarmist statements, BoZ has indicated that there’s $2.9BN so what is he talking about? If he’s not ready to govern let him resign before it’s too late.

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  10. A very careless and f00Iish thing to say. We warned you about this under 5. He is still behaving like he is in opposition. This is what happens when you win an election based on lies without having an actual plan in place. This f00I is unpatriotic and went in front of his imperial whlte masters to embarrass the country. Hh is a marthafaka

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  11. The funny thing is that your tribesman is only employing bembas and easterners to stay in power. How does that make you feel? Hahaha

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  12. “We have Inherited “Empty” Treasury”

    So can we finally admit that neoliberal economics, including World Bank/IMF structural adjustment, have failed? That it was a bad idea to not collect taxes from the mines, and instead take on billions of dollars in Eurobond debt?

    This is of course a recipe for non-development. It ensures there is no money available for the population. This is not democracy. This is aristocracy with closed door deal behind the backs and over the heads of the voters and consumers.

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  13. Cry babies, international mumbling. In opposition cry babies. In Government cry babies. We remind hh that he must be running Zambia locally, not internationally. Within! Problems are within; Solutions are within, He doesn’t have to horn the trumpet to the international community and expect Zambia to get sympathy from out there, the IMF, international lenders or what have you. International media, international people have no solutions for Zambia.

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  14. Cry babies, international mumbling. In opposition cry babies. In Government cry babies.
    I have not personally seen a kid that cries all the time begin to work for himself.
    Is hh and his Government trying to lay a foundation for failure? When they fail, will they push this agenda of empty coffers as reason for failure?
    Youths wants solutions, farmers want solutions, the country wants solutions not blame. If you think people stole follow it on on the Rule of Law. Last I checked, there was no Rule of Blame.

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  15. #12 Tarino. You watched the interview yes. Were there witnesses there apart from the president to confirm what he was saying or are tuned only to believe what says without using your judgement.? Not different from Freedom Sikazwe.

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  16. This is now beginning to sound like an excuse. You knew things were bad and that’s why you were voted to rectify them. People want solutions, not lamentations. Roll up your sleeves and get to work Mr. President!

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  17. Kikikikikikijukija Hehehehehehe nkunkunkunkyu hahahahahaha kwekwekwekwe kwikwikwikwikwi kwokwokwokwo!
    Cry baby indeed. Look at the way he is seated in the photo above. Definitely he thinks this was a beauty contest. He is hanging in their like a Ms Mr. Zambia. On a good will ambassador mission to discredit his country internationally. Last election was not a beauty contest h². Roll your sleeves. It ain’t goona be easy and boom, it will be 2026 before you realize it.
    If you gather enough evidence of your claim, don’t hesitate to charge ’em wrong doers. If it’s lip service, damn it shut it for us will you? Remember, talk is cheap.

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  18. That’s what you signed up for…. you can walk on water, you can turn water into wine so why are showing dirty linen in front of the whole world. Excuses, excuses? You promised to solve the problems. Are like a young groom who goes into marriage without knowing that he has to share the bed with the bride?

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  19. We know part of what you’re saying could be true, so charge and prosecute.

    On the flip side you could just be making noise, bu puti, bu munjemunje, bu matyetye. If the latter is what this game is all about, spare us your campaign rhetoric and immediately without delay, get to work or you will enter our record of the worst performing president in Zambia in the first 100 days and 5years in Government.
    Time is not your best ally. Every second that ticks, takes you to 2026 chopping board.

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  20. When a party has been in opposition for a long time they sometimes still behave like they are in opposition when they come to power. No need to give untruths or excuses. There are $2.9 billion worth of reserves at BOZ. If you say there isn’t it will raise suspicion that this is intended to be looted because it wasn’t there to begin with. We are all praying for your success. Please just begin to work and forget about making excuses, Take advantage of the opportunity given by Zambians to perform. Zambians are waiting to give you a report card at the ballot after 5 years for all the wonders you promised to do.

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  21. If some people in the previous govt had stolen please prosecute them if you have evidence on the table, do not start giving excuses just do your work and improve the welfare of Zambians (especially the youths who significantly contributed to your winning elections).

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  22. Some were complaining about the runaway rise of the kwacha to the dollar…….

    Well , this intelligent intervention by HH based on the truth has already arrested the kwachas appreciation……

    Well done HEHH….

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  23. Where did the president expect the money to be kept? Is it not Bank of Zambia? Boz is the only bank obligated to do that. The treasury is the BoZ. Ask if the bank doesn’t have $3 billion? How much must you have. Running the country’s economy is not as simple as managing Coopers & Lybrand

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  24. Ba first yes she thinks she’s now loyalty and part of the Cabinet…hahahaha dressing kuichaila basankwa..and the husband walking around with surgical gloves…..meanwhile HH is complaining 24/7……hihihihi the messiah has given up….not so fast…..don’t blame me I didn’t vote for HH

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  25. At the rate we are going with these excuses it won’t take long for him to order the arrest of Lungu. FTJ and Co did that to KK in order to divert our attention. The man KK was accused of stealing from State coffers… don’t get me wrong I am not defending Lungu… but up to the time the man left this world, he lived an ordinary life and no such money has been seen by the accusers.

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  26. Just curious, has HH relinquished the various positions he holds in big companies. To avoid conflict of interest. I saw that happening even to Trump. Tenders can be manipulated to suit his companies if he is not asked to step down in those companies. That is why all democratic countries have that check in place.

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  27. SIR ARE YOU SURE THE NATIONAL COFFER IS EMPTY? THERE ARE NO RESERVES AT ALL? PLEASE LEARN TO PUT FACTS STRAIGHT NOT ALARMING. YOU ARE NOW A PRESIDENT DO NOT SPEAK LIKE AN OPPOSITION. IT IS NOW TIME TO START DELIVERING ON PROMISE. REMEMBER THE PROMISE OF FREE EDUCATION FROM GRADE ZERO TO VARSITY, AFFORDABLE COMMODITY PRICES, YOUTH EMPLOYMENT, FULL PAY OF BENEFITS FOR MINERS, EMPLOYMENT FOR TEACHERS AND MEDICAL STAFF, ETC

  28. Reading some comments here and those of Andyford Banda and Sean Tembo can make one cry. It shows why Zambia cannot develop faster than Rwanda in spite of huge natural resources. When you owe $13 billion and you have $3 billion in your account, your coffers are EMPTY. If interest rate is 6% on the $13 bn then in 5 years, the debt will be $17 bn . This means that even if you use the reserves to pay part of this debt, you will be at the same point in 5 years. This what being broke looks like. You are broke when you have to borrow from Peter to pay Paul.

  29. How can treasury not be broke with those bribes in PF tee shirts and vitenges they were printing and putting even in trees. I hope Sumaili and Christians will pass through the needles eye, I doubt

  30. Zambia is broke. You already defaulted on two loans because you didn’t have the money to pay your creditors. Why did you fail to pay $100m if as you claim you’ve $2.9 bn in reserves? Why was the former PF government negotiating with the IMF (lender of last resort) if your Treasury is still in surplus. Zambia owes anything between $15bn to $32 bn in an economy with a paltry $18 bn ? Your per capita income has nosedive to $992. You’ve joined about 10 countries with per capita incomes less than $1000. You’re dead broke and you should brush up on your basic economics.

  31. Learn some analogies please. By saying ’empty’ he doesn’t mean completely zero. He is using it to explain the extent of the dire financial situation. Some of you want to use the words literally for your own already emerging crusade against a new regime that is settling down. You can’t wait.

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