The government has said that domestic debt increased from K53.3 billion in January 2019 to K198 billion at the end of 2021.
According to the latest White paper published by the Ministry of Finance, the government attributed the rise in domestic debt to increasing recourse to domestic financing; impeded by high debt levels and debt servicing requirements that resulted in the debt standstill from October 2020 amidst reduced fiscal space.
The paper further said that the government’s foreign debt as of September 2021 now stands at $12.99 billion.
The government says commercial debt accounts for 45 percent while multilateral and bilateral debt accounts for 24 percent and 30 percent.
The government’s stock of publicly guaranteed external debt was $1.5 billion as of the end of September 2021.
The bulk of the guaranteed debt relates to the state-owned power utility company, ZESCO Limited.
Meanwhile, Government has published the 2022-2024 Medium Term Budget Plan -MTBP- also known as the White Paper.
The 2022-2024 White Paper firms up the fiscal position of the approved 2022 Budget and outlook for the 2023 and 2024 fiscal years. The 2022-2024 White Paper will also be the basis for the formulation of the 2023-2025 Medium Term Budget Plan.
The White Paper provides Government’s performance in the 2019-2021 medium-term and policy direction for the 2022-2024 medium term.
In addition, it details the fiscal framework within which these policy objectives will be met.
This is according to a statement issued by Ministry of Finance, Secretary to the Treasury, Felix Nkulukusa.
Mr. Nkulukusa said despite the COVID-19 pandemic having a huge impact on economic growth, and posing additional challenges to creating fiscal space for delivery of public services in the previous medium term, government remains optimistic with economic fundamentals over the period 2022-2024.
He said government policy is now anchored on restoring macroeconomic stability, attaining fiscal and debt sustainability, restoring economic growth and improving the livelihoods of the Zambian people.
Mr Nkulukusa further said the 2022-2024 MTBP framework is predicated on the objectives that were set out in the 2022-2024 Budget Policy Concept Paper which was approved by Cabinet in September 2021 and on which the 2022 National Budget was based.
He also said the MTBP will provide a review and ensure the Government’s policy objective of restoring economic growth and safeguarding livelihoods for a prosperous and equitable Zambia is achieved.
Mr. Nkulukusa said this will be done by ensuring there is private sector-led growth, where the private sector will be facilitated in playing a significant role in the area of production, trade, enterprise and job creation.