Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says the country’s economy is doing very well and is on the right trajectory.
And Siliya says she is extremely disappointed with UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma’s remarks that it’s pointless for President Edgar Lungu to champion peace in other countries like Mozambique when he has failed to unite Zambia.
Responding to questions from journalists on the circular from the Ministry of Finance which confirmed that Zambia’s Treasury was depleted, Siliya said the circular was taken out of context and that people should not be worried.
“I think also that was captured out of context from the online media. I think it was captured outside context. Look, here is what is happening, the economy is doing well, look at all the numbers and numbers don’t lie, it is doing well. But government has accepted that yes, we have turbulence in terms of us meeting debt obligations. We don’t want to be a country that defaults. Zambia has never defaulted on debt and that is why we are being strict. We have to pay the debt that we owe if we owe somebody, we want to pay them,” Siliya said.
“But we are saying at the same time, as we think of paying both international and local debt, we are saying let us prioritise. The Minister of Finance, I have heard him saying he really wants to address the local debt so that he can provide liquidity in the economy. So he has made that priority. He has also said very clearly that he would like to re-profile other debts so that we can have more space in terms of discretionary spending, he is pre occupied with these things and I think that we should not take things out of context.”
She reiterated that some projects would be shelved until existing projects were complete.
“When the Minister of Finance announced austerity measures and said we want to address existing projects away from new projects and that was the context of that letter. There is no point in us trying to focus on new projects, let us finish existing projects so that we have value for money and we can show the people that these projects are finished now we can start other projects. Some projects are important, we will have no option but to start them. Others have to be shelved until we finish existing projects and make sure that we do not lose our commitment to pay our loans. We have never defaulted as a country in terms of payment and it should be a good record for our country and this what we want to continue doing. We want to make sure that these debts are paid so that we can save the future generation from paying them,” Siliya said.
And Siliya said government was extremely disappointed with Kakoma’s remarks because it was extremely dangerous for a politician to continue sowing seeds of division in the country.
“We are extremely disappointed with the UPND, particularly its spokesperson who says President Edgar Lungu should not be involved in peace building especially in the region. Our country is extremely well known for being a beacon of peace and you cannot erase that history. I think it is extremely dangerous for a politician to want to continue sowing seeds of division in the country and saying there is division here because who wants to live in the absence of peace? Nobody, especially [not] young people. And I think we should be extremely concerned especially the media when political leaders start glorifying perceived misunderstandings which might not even really be there, there’re just political ambitions and political ambitions come and go but we want this country to be here. So one’s political ambitions today should not divide the country,” said Siliya.
“When other countries like Mozambique, like the Congo, call upon us to mediate because the President is going on behalf of our country, when those countries say ‘we are looking to Zambia’, how can we be the first ones to say ‘No, here there is no peace’? Then there must be something wrong with our thinking.”