Unless China decides to write off the billions it is owed by Zambia in debt, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is one of the few escape routes available to heavily indebted countries, a University of Zambia lecturer has said.
Commenting on mounting criticism against the government’s decision to engage the IMF, Sishuwa Sishuwa defended the move, saying the previous administration collapsed the economy to an extent that made the coming of the Fund almost inevitable.
“The Lungu administration sacrificed economic rationality for political expediency, and consequently made the new administration of Hichilema inherit a poisoned chalice. After carelessly contracting a huge and unsustainable debt that effectively collapsed Zambia’s economy, the PF opportunistically delayed committing to an IMF bailout package for fear that the political fallout may cost them an election.
“None of the critics of the IMF deal has offered any kind of alternative solution, because there is not one unless China decides to write off all the billions it is owed. Critics are correct to say that many of the IMF conditions are harsh and will hit the poor especially hard. But if the budgetary process is to be put on a sound basis, strict spending controls are essential”, Dr Sishuwa said last evening during a virtual interview program dubbed “The State of Politics in Zambia Today”.
During the same show, the UNZA lecturer also condemned the arrest of PF member of the Central Committee Raphael Nakacinda on a charge of defamation of the President.
He said the law on defamation of the president has no place in a democracy and should be repealed.
Dr. Sishuwa urged President Hakainde Hichilema to embrace public criticism, develop thick skin and stop the police from arresting critics in his name.
Below is the link to the recorded broadcast of the full program.