Saturday, April 20, 2024

The issue is not China but Zambia’s choices – HH

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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has said that the issue is not China but Zambia’s choices on what they want financing for. Mr Hichilema also said that fighting corruption is inevitable stressing that “quite unpopular to colleagues that were doing business, tenderpreneurs. Amongst those tenderpreneurs, some were supplying air meaning squarely nothing and billed huge quantities of money. So we decided to audit suspicious domestic debt and only pay those that we thought were clean straight.”

He was responding to a question when he addressed the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, DC on how he felt on allegations that non-disclosure agreements that often accompanied Chinese financing have made transparency difficult sometimes, a fact underscored by his administration after assuming office that Zambia’s actual debt to China had been underestimated by about 50 per cent.

“First and fore most it is important to acknowledge that China is the single largest creditor in that category of foreign creditors to Zambia and with that recognition it’s important to understand how the debt was acquired. By and large, it was infrastructure development related. Does Zambia need infrastructure development? Yes. Absolutely yes. The issue was not mainly for China but for us the borrowers to structure, to mix the debt that we got…” he explained. “The question is which infrastructure? It should not have been a choice for China. It should have been our choice as Zambia, our priorities. Had we got our priorities right, we would have first struck a balance on how to utilise the full ticket, value. Whatever you want to call it. Mainly it went into roads but for us now, in our quest to develop infrastructure, roads are important. Which roads? Which other infrastructure areas? Energy. Energy would have been extremely important. Largely green energy.”
President Hichilema said there were lots of opportunities to expand hydro energy given the country’s hydrological conditions.
“If it was us in government we would have put a large portion of that in electricity for our domestic needs, growth projection needs,” he said.

President Hichilema said application of the Chinese debt should have gone in the power sector area where the country would have cushioned the deficit in southern and East Africa interconnector and made money. He said such a move would not have created a debt crisis.

The President said for roads his government would use the Public-Private-Partnership model which was really off balance sheet. “We are very delighted to say that China understands certainly from our conversations, the decisions we had and from the decisions, one of them is being done by China itself and other Zambians on a public-private-partnership basis. Another thing is it recognises the difficulties we are in. Our party in government has a way of doing things,” he said. “Even if we were not in a debt crisis we would have gone for this model together with others that are less stressful. Now we are saying to China, we are saying to the US, we are saying to Europe, we are saying Japan and anyone else on our continent as Africa, we can work together in many other areas that will help us achieve our agenda as a government.”

He said his target was to grow economy by three per cent this year.

“Although growth outlook will be difficult this year we expecting to grow as a country after one year in office to close to three per cent from -2.8 in an environment where inflation in other countries is in a runaway position, where interests are much higher and public expenditure is a problem. We are dealing with those issues and I think China understands. China also like any other lender is also influenced by the borrower government, what it wants to do and makes its case. It is the same for any other lender,” President Hichilema said. “We need to be clear of what we want for our own economies.”

He said economic success was positively related to laws.
President Hichilema said the fight against corruption was not a choice for a decent government like his.
“It’s invertible to do that. We can’t just talk about it,” he said. “In Zambia and in many other countries we have a problem of start–stop processes…” he said.

President Hichilema said one of the issues to address was why Africa was not represented in global governance such as on the UN Security Council and the G20.

He said his aim in 2023 would be to unlock rigidities in the economy.

“We had to reign in on the debt position. First domestic debt. We had to come down on public service extravagance, which was excessive and we are working hard to bring that under control. Quite unpopular to colleagues that were doing business, tenderpreneurs,” he said. “Amongst those tenderpreneurs some were supplying air meaning squarely nothing and billed huge quantities of money. So we decided to audit suspicious domestic debt and only pay those that we thought were clean straight. Now with the macro stability which I have explained, we have been in office 15 months, our duty now is to turn on the growth side. To focus on what Zambians elected us in office for, to grow the economy.”

23 COMMENTS

    • Bwaahahahahahahahaha! “the issue is not China but Zambia’s choices on what they want financing for.”

      That is like saying “The slavemaster isnt to blame its the slave. For not wanting to choose to work in the house or in the field”

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  1. We know you now. For all this blubber mouthing, you were going to do nothing. You have demonstrated you are a big liar, smooth talk and flowery speeches is what has come to be your identity.

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  2. This one will not end well because he is slightly behind the thinking of his nation. Zambia has been traumatised by it’s leaders. People want genuine change but the leaders like to play politics.

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  3. What’s funny is that you would think the West are the ones we or PF have the biggest debt with …you are happy to fly to Washington to drink coffee with old Joe but have never visited China you send juniors there!!

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  4. Alasabayila when in presence of whltes uyu hh. He goes there to make his own country look like it is made of incapable thieves. Muzungu anikonde mentality. Fuseke!

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    • We’ll presented Your Excellency and keep on asking them why Africa is not represented in the UN Security Council and G20, we demand representation.

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    • Tony you are a very slow boy. You think you can be allowed a seat at the SC when your president is self deprecating and criticising his own country. Hh is just a chola boy. With him at helm they will always see you as second class because unlike Robert mugabe, hh just kisses their backsides as he is desperate to be loved by muzungu

  5. The president is absolutely right to realign zambia from China’s ominous presence………..

    Demographically and economically……..

    We will be forever greatfull to China for being all weather friends , but………..

    Moving forward , it has to be mutually beneficial relationship…………..

    Zambia will not be a Chinese goods market………..Zambian goods will fill zambian households

  6. The president is absolutely right to realign zambia from China’s ominous presence………..

    Demographically and economically……..

    We will be forever greatfull to China for being all weather friends , but………..

    Zambia will not be a Chinese goods market………..Zambian goods will fill zambian households

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  7. If it wasn’t for the notorious thieving PF, we would not have been in this beging position. These chaps mercilessly borrowed beyond our capacity to pay back and on top of that, looted most of the funds. Sorting out this merce will really take long and will be hard. And one annoying thing is when these PF chaps start coming out wanting to sound cleaver without any remorse or shame. The chaps will simply never change although they cheat that they are rebranding

  8. Spaka.Do not relent to keep trying to pump fresh thinking into these septic old bowls of rice on this thread.They are very convinced that there is only one side to a coin

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  9. Africa will only develop when we acknowledge our shortcoming and start seriously addressing them. We normally talk about slavery, us been the victim of the vice, without acknowledging the real slave masters are our own forefathers that were so greed and corrupted, such that they sold their brothers and sisters in exchange for useless things. people are clapping when somebody is busying stealing public resources that are meant for Zambians. China or the West will not develop Zambia but Zambians who are honest and hard working.

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