The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says the negative publicity Zambia is getting has potential to ruin the country’s only chance to revive its economy through an IMF bailout.

In a statement, CTPD acting executive director Isaac Mwaipopo said it was concerned about the growing negative publicity Zambia was getting.

“CTPD is concerned about the growing negative publicity of Zambia which has now penetrated the international media platforms such as Aljazeera, Bloomberg and Daily Nation Kenya, to mention but a few. CTPD is of the considered view that there is need to come together as a nation and find common ground that can help to resolve the current situation which if left unresolved can send the country into serious problems,” Mwaipopo said.

“It is our sincere hope that the current situation will not affect prospects for accessing the needed support from the international community as credit ratings may get affected with the growing negative political outlook, which may in turn affect government’s ability to borrow from cooperating partners such as the International Monetary Fund. It is worth noting that governance rating is one important element used in determining a countries ability to access financial support. Zambia is currently negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for financial support, failure to conclude the bailout package for whatever reasons might have severe implications for the country’s economy as the IMF bailout stands to be one option that could help improve Zambia’s credit rating.”

CTPD stressed the need for dialogue among politicians.

“Finally, we urge both political parties to embrace dialogue, despite having different political persuasions’, we only have one country to live in and build, let’s build a society we can all be proud to pass on to the next generation. Let’s avoid getting entangled in political party or personal pursuits at the expense of dealing with the current social-economic challenges the country is grappling with,” he said.

Mwaipopo listed some of the challenges the country was facing.

“We have shocking records from the Lusaka City Council indicating that the nation lost over 900 lives within 21 days, this is besides the high maternal mortality rate which stood at 591 per 100 000 live births as of 2015. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the burden of disease is high in Zambia with an estimated 40,000 babies being infected annually from diseases such as malaria , the majority in fact dying before the age of five. There is also a growing cost of doing business and local production following increases in electricity tariffs and subsidy removal on fuel,” stated Mwaipopo.

“We urge all players at the center to work around finding the common threads that bind us together as a national and avoid treading on paths that may divide us as a people.”

Below are the links which CTPD attached to the statement detailing the negative publicity Zambia was getting: