MMD leader Nevers Mumba has written to Finance Minister Felix Mutati again, warning him of the consequences of a runaway national debt that would arise from government’s lack of honest about how much it has actually borrowed.

The former vice-president regretted that Mutati did not respond to his earlier email.

“On July 31st 2017, I wrote a letter to you requesting to know the actual debt stock for our country as of now. Your silence which is now entering the second month is unfortunate. We are unable to speculate why you have been unable to respond to our query despite the promise from your office that you were going to give a response within the week of our request. We can only assume that, by your silence, you have agreed with our estimated national debt, which roughly stands at US$23.4 billion without counting the pending debt under negotiation,” Mumba stated in a letter dated August 22, 2017, copied to President Edgar Lungu and Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba.

“I am sure as Minister of Finance, you are aware of the devastating effect a runaway national debt has on the delivery of services to the citizens. It is for this reason that the MMD government, specifically under the Levy Mwanawasa regime in which both yourself and I served, aggressively decided to dismantle the debt which stood at $7 billion. The relief we obtained from the multilateral lenders helped us to reinvest in social services like education, health and poverty alleviation programs.”

He said having worked under Mwanawasa, Mutati was expected to guide President Lungu better on debt management.

“Our hope is that having served with us in the MMD government you would serve as a conscience to President Edgar Lungu and the PF government. It is your responsibility honorable minister to tell the nation the truth as to the current national debt stock. Further, it is your duty to advise the PF government on the devastating effect of debt on social stability of the nation,” said Mumba.

“Since you apparently ignored our last letter, we wish to remind you that your office is obligated to provide answers from any Zambian who seeks clarification. I am deeply disappointed that you have chosen to avoid this issue of debt in the hope that it will die a natural death and you shall not be called to account. We demand an answer from your office.”