FINANCE and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane says government expected the country’s debt resolutions to move fast.

In an interview, Dr Musokotwane wondered why the other parties were failing to deliver on their part despite government doing everything that was expected of it.

“Guidelines were given and for us, we said since this is the only solution that is available, we will go for it. Therefore, we did the things that we were expected of the country, desirous of being assisted to resolve the debt under the common framework. Those were done very quickly by this government. So, therefore, our expectation was that since we have done everything that opens the door to the common framework, the debt resolution would move fast,” he said.

“This is where the point of the Bank of Zambia comes in when they said delays in debt restructuring were unexpected. We have done everything that we are expected to do and therefore, let’s get our debt restructured, but it has not happened as of yet. This is why we say ‘unexpected’ because on our side, we did everything that was expected of us but on their side, they have not delivered”.

The Finance Minister further noted that it was much easier to resolve a country’s debt if it owed only one institution.

“Unexpectedly, yes because when we came into office, we agreed with the assessments with most economists and institutions that Zambia was facing a debt crisis. The question then is, what is a solution for the country, what is the solution for the country? Now for a country that owes only one other country, or one other institution, that is a simple problem because you will now engage the one that you borrowed from and say, ‘my friend, it is not possible to pay you in the manner we agreed. Can we renegotiate so that we agree on a different schedule that I can manage?’ It is you and that lender, simple and straightforward,” said Dr Musokotwane.

“But when you have borrowed from many other institutions, or countries, it is no longer a bilateral discussion. It has to be a multilateral [discussion]. In other words, all the parties sitting together and agreeing to say, how do we restructure your debt?

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