Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has asked all project-implementing ministries to stop bombarding the Treasury with requests for funding of activities until the debt stock is brought back to “moderate levels”.

This is according to a circular dated July 3, 2019 addressed to the all Permanent Secretaries, all heads of departments, the Auditor General, the Principal Private Secretary at State House and the Senior Private Secretary at the Office of the Vice-President.

The Ministry of Finance lamented that it had noted with concern that implementing ministries had continued to submit new projects for financing consideration despite an earlier circular which outlined the cash situation a the Treasury.

“POSTPONEMENT OF THE NEW CONTRACTION OF ALL NEW NON-CONCESSIONAL LOANS UNTIL UNTIL THE DEBT STOCK IS BROUGHT BACK TO MODERATE LEVELS: Please refer to the above subject matter. Following the issuance of Cabinet circular of May 2019, we have noted with concern that implementing ministries have continued to submit new projects for financing consideration,” read the circular in part.

“These projects may not have any financial closure and may include projects under preliminary discussion by the implementors and promotors, projects with signed commercial contracts but without committed financing, projects with signed commercial contracts and on-going negotiated unsigned financing agreements with the Ministry of Finance”

On Sunday, President Edgar Lungu announced that government had put several development projects on hold because the resource envelope was depleted.

Speaking to journalists at Kansanshi Hotel in Solowezi, President Lungu admitted that the country was broke.

“I am President of the Republic or Zambia and my duty is to develop Zambia across its breadth and width. There should be no problem about that. And Zambia is not Kitwe, Ndola or Lusaka, Zambia is the whole component from North, East, South, West, so we’ll continue but right now we have scaled down, not because of anything else but the resource envelop has depleted,” said President Lungu.

“You know, we were very ambitious when we started but we are playing 90 minutes. The first 15 minutes you play full burst but you run out of steam and half way, you just hold oh in the game until you have enough energy. So we are restricting some of the projects so that we’re able to meet them. Like the roads for example, some of the roads we intended to have them tar marked but we may have to just do gravel for a while, to make them passable and maintain them over a period and when we have resources, put tar mark on them. We are not letting anything go, but we will continue with development. The story is that no Zambian will be left behind, for whatever reason. Whether you voted black or red or green or blue, you are Zambian, you are entitled to development. The benefit that lies in this region will benefit all of us.”