President Hakainde Hichilema has thanked China for coming on board to commit and join other creditors in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Zambia debt restructuring process.
President Hichilema announced that to this effect Zambia has recorded progress with the debt restructuring programme which is targeted at restoring and reviving the country’s economy.
Speaking during the first quarter of 2022 press conference at State house in Lusaka yesterday, President Hichilema, emphasized that it will be difficult for the government to record sustainable economic development with the current debt levels.
ZANIS reports that the President stated that the current debt levels are the reasons why government is committed to ensuring that all debt restructuring challenges are addressed before another development agenda.
He disclosed that Zambia has so far made remarkable progress with the IMF in its debt restructuring programme and is by June this year likely to progress to the second phase of negotiating under a common framework.
“Last year we reached the staff level agreement with the IMF on the debt restructuring, you can’t build the economy with huge debt mountains, and we undertook a decision to dismantle this debt and create room to release resources towards debt servicing in the economy to create jobs and grow the economy,” he said.
President Hichilema added that contrary to assertions by some sectors of the society that he was ignoring China in the IMF negotiation process, he personally engaged China, and was proud to announce that China is now part of the common framework committee.
“Am proud to announce to the nation that we engaged China, we engaged other creditors to negotiate a debt resolution package, I engaged China myself as President that’s my job, which you gave me, working together with the Ministry of Finance, Foreign Affairs we want to thank China for joining the common framework agreement to resolve the debt crisis,” he disclosed.
The Head of State explained that within the eight months that the UPND has been in office, Zambia is on course with the debt restructuring, adding that all the required components have already been put in place.
Mr. Hichilema said the value of the restructuring will result in resources made available for the economic expansion and the private sector who will in turn supplement governments in job creation.
Meanwhile, President Hichilema said government regards the private sector as the engine for economic development hence it will soon launch the Public Private Dialog Forum for Development aimed at unlocking all challenges that impede the growth of the sector.
He explained that the private sector has an important role to play to help government create more employment opportunities that are likely to benefit the citizens.
“The engine of economic growth is the private sector, after working hard looking at what we can do to unlock the private sector development , we will shortly be launching what we call the Public Private Dialogue Forum for Development as a way of unlocking all those issues that affect the growth of the private sector,” he added.
President Hichilema further stated that it’s not a coincidence that the country has continued to record reduced inflation rate and stable exchange rate but that it is because of the measures that government has continued to implement to bring stability in the country’s economy.