Economist Trevor Hambayi says he hopes the proposed Loans and Grants Amendment Act will address issues of over borrowing.
And Hambayi says Zambia needs to start creating value from platforms like the ongoing Dubai expo.
In an interview, Tuesday Hambayi said the Loans and Grants Amendment Act should provide guidance on borrowing so that the country avoids unsustainable debt.
“We just don’t repeal it without bringing something better. We are supposed to ensure that we put a limit on how much we ca borrow. We saw the previous government had gone to Parliament to remove the threshold on the limit on how much we can borrow and we continued to do this until the debt was unsustainable, this should be prevented. The act should provide guidance so that we don’t contract debt that is unsustainable. This act should be upgraded so that it ensures that as a country, we do not go back to back a situation where the entire debt position is in the hand of one person who is the Minister of Finance. The move they want to take is a positive one but it would have had been good to be able to be able to have the stakeholders or public input in this bill to ensure that it protects the country. We just want have to make sure that this is not like the act of the previous regime who would have taken the bill to Parliament that was intended to protect the interest party in office rather than the interest of the country,” Hambayi said.
“I am hoping that they had a discussion with the stakeholders so that when it is actually signed into law, it is actually taking into consideration all other stakeholders’ interests rather than when we get there and we find that what is this bill talking about because it does not speak to our interest. We also did see debt contracted through the line ministry which had not gone through the Ministry of Finance and we expect that there must be a special committee a the National Assembly which legislative body to ensure that any loan that the country is going to contract is actually verified and there is substantial information that supports the need for that debt contraction.”
And Hambayi said President Hakainde Hichilema needs to start thinking of how to draw benefits from various business expositions which the country attends.
“It is good for the President to have gone and has he has mentioned that he is a chief marketing officer. However, we need him to start thinking about having tangible results from the same which is creating value. We need to start to work with the local eneterpeneurs so that they can meet international quality standard and not just a point of having gone to expos and nothing is done. As a country, we have attended hundreds and hundreds of expos but we have not evolved on our export base,” said Hambayi.