The President of the Socialist Party Zambia, Dr. Fred M’membe, has expressed skepticism about the government’s claims that all benchmarks for securing an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan have been met. Dr. M’membe made the statement during a press conference where he addressed issues concerning debt restructuring and Zambia’s economic recovery.
According to Dr. M’membe, the IMF statement clearly sets out conditions for the disbursement of the US$188 million loan, subject to financing assurances from debt restructuring. He stated that it was mischievous for the government to claim that all benchmarks have been met when there are still outstanding conditions that have not been met.
The President of the Socialist Party also expressed concerns about the government’s credibility in handling debt restructuring. He cited numerous statements and timelines provided by the Minister of Finance that had come and gone without any concrete results. Dr. M’membe questioned how one could be confident in the outcome when timelines kept changing.
Dr. M’membe further raised concerns about the effectiveness of debt restructuring in solving Zambia’s economic challenges. He pointed out that over the past two years, Zambia has not been servicing its debt, so where have the savings gone? Once debt restructuring is concluded, Zambia will have to resume paying the suspended debt, which means that the country will have less money than it had in the past two years. He asserted that debt restructuring is not a panacea for Zambia’s economic challenges.
The President of the Socialist Party Zambia emphasized that the real solution lies in formulating an internal economic recovery plan that focuses on industrialization, expanding the country’s manufacturing capacities, sound agriculture policy, reviewing tax waivers provided to the mining and other sectors, and energy sector reforms, among other things. He called for the adoption of a non-favorite child policy, where all creditors are treated equally, and engagement with each credit category on a bilateral basis in addition to the G20 Common Framework.
Dr. M’membe stated that debt restructuring should not be viewed as a silver bullet to Zambia’s economic challenges. Instead, the government should focus on formulating an internal economic recovery plan that addresses the root causes of the country’s economic challenges.