Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati says Zambia has started reaping dividends from the debt restructure deal clinched by the UPND administration from the country’s official creditors.
Mr Mutati said multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the IMF have come on board to provide the much needed resources to drive the country’s economy.
He indicated that prior to Zambia clinching the debt restructuring deal multilateral institutions withheld the much needed financing to steer the national economy.
Mr Mutati disclosed that following the successful debt restructuring deal the IMF will this year provide US$188 million to Zambia.
Speaking at an event last evening during a public forum organised by the Blind Tiger Strategies, The minister further revealed that the World Bank will also give Zambia US$75 million .
Mr Mutati said the funds being availed by multilateral agencies are as a result of the debt restructuring deal clinched by government.
He said Zambia stands to immensely benefit from the debt relief as evidenced from the colossal amounts of money that is trickling into the country.
Mr Mutati pointed out that the money which was being kept away by international lending institutions is now being availed.
“Those that were on the fence such as the multilateral, IMF and the World Bank are now saying this year, the IMF will be able to land into Zambia one hundred and eighty-eight point eight million dollars. The World bank will give us seventy-five million dollars, money that they had kept away from us for many years,” He said.
Meanwhile Mr Mutati also revealed at the same public forum that the Ministry of Agriculture has already received US$14 million meant for supporting over 30,000 small scale farmers.
The Minister said the funds received by the government are meant to assist small scale farmers graduate into medium scale farmers.
“My colleague from the Minister of Agriculture was telling me this morning that he has already gotten 14 million dollars to support over 30 thousand small scale farmers who are going to be given five thousand kwacha each, to elevate them from small to big farmers. So this tells you what debt restructuring can do,” He said.
And Mr Mutati says Zambia has graduated from the exclusive circle of nations that were termed as defaulters.
He said prior to securing the debt restructuring deal Zambia was among nations that were excluded from accessing international capital from the international community.
The Minister said the debt restructuring deal entered by the new dawn government is a landmark achievement that will transform the economic landscape of the country.
Mr Mutati disclosed that the debt restructuring deal is the biggest deal under the G20 common framework of debt adding that this has never happened before.
He recalled that Zambia was among the first countries to default, adding that the country has managed to liberate itself from debt through the strong leadership provided by President Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr Mutati said Zambia’s experience is being shared across the African continent, particular for those countries in debt distress.
He said countries in debt want to learn and adopt the methodology used by Zambia in clinching a debt restructuring deal.
Mr Mutati insisted that Zambia has become a tutor in Africa on what requires to be done for a country to secure a debt restructuring deal from creditors.
He cited strong leadership exhibited by President Hichilema and his team as a key ingredient required for any country desiring to clinch a debt relief deal from creditors.
“Zambia is going to share her experience with other countries in Africa, “said Mr Mutati.
The Minister pointed out that hope has risen once again for a better Zambia with full opportunities for young people and improved service delivery to the communities.
And speaking at the same public forum Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) Researcher – Public Finance Management Martina Mumba, said the body is complimenting government efforts in sensitizing members of the public on the benefits the country will drive from the debt restructuring deal.
Ms Mumba said there is need for the community to be informed on the benefits that the country is expected to derive from the debt relief programme.
Meanwhile University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) President Chandra Choongo hoped that the debt restructuring deal will translate into increased allocation of funds to the education sector.
Mr Choongo said students in higher learning institutions are anxious to see benefits such as job opportunities and recruitment of teachers.
He further said government should consider expanding infrastructure in public learning institutions so as to accommodate the country’s increasing population.
The organisers of the public forum, Blind Tiger Strategies Executive Director Sikazwa Luyando said the forum was organised with a view to give a better understanding of the benefits that the country will derive from the debt restructuring deal.
Mr Luyando expressed happiness with the information shared during the forum adding that it will help members of the public appreciate the importance of Zambia acquiring debt relief.