- Goal Diggers
- Guest Diggers
It’s laughable to think PF can ensure debt sustainability – SichingaBy Ulande Nkomesha on 19 Feb 2020
Former agriculture minister Bob Sichinga says government, under President Edgar Lungu, is unable to implement debt sustainability as it will lead the country into further debt distress.
And Sichinga says he doubts the accuracy of government’s official debt figures.
Reacting to Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu’s state of the economy briefing in an interview, Sichinga said it was a joke for people to believe that the PF had the ability to apply debt sustainability measures.
“Lungu’s regime must be removed, they are going to lead the country to more and more debt. They are irresponsible, they cannot do it! It doesn’t matter which Minister of Finance you are going to bring in, if Lungu is doing his own things in contracting debt; because he wants to give contracts to his friends at very exorbitant prices to people who paid him money for his campaigns, it is going to be a very expensive preposition. So remove the government and we start afresh,” Sichinga said.
“IMF is not going to come if you are not going to show that you are sustainable. Now, this issue they are calling austerity measures, it is a joke! We are playing here. You take a plane load of people; you go and buy an expensive aircraft and you carry the President around and you say you have austerity measures being implemented, you must be joking! You are taking money out of government coffers and you are distributing to your cadres, how are you going to sustain the deb? It is not possible. It is a joke! IMF are not going to do that…you are just a small country that they can afford not to support; they don’t have to support if they are not convinced.”
He insisted that Zambia’s debt was unsustainable.
“When you go out and borrow and say ‘you have capacity’, no! you don’t have the capacity because you are so dependable on so many other factors that are out of your control. I would be very surprised if IMF was to say yes without these conditionalities. So the ball is in our courts, it is not for IMF to sort out our problems, it is our problem. It is like in a house, if you look at your revenue and you say you have taken a loan, you will be paying back on the house you live, can you manage to pay from your salary? The answer is no. It is not possible because we still have to eat; we still have to buy medicals; we still have to maintain roads; we still have to support education; we still have to support the social cash transfer. Can you sustain it when you have paid all that? Our ability to pay is what is called sustainability. Now where does our government get this money? Mostly taxes,” he added.
“Now sovereign debt, you cannot say that ‘alright let’s pay salaries first then we can do this, no! They want you to pay, you have to pay that amount before the salaries. Now the question is that are you able to do that? The answer has to be no! You are not able to! The amount you have to pay for those loans is to high based on the agreements you reached to the lenders whether they are Chinese or IMF. The issue is can you raise sufficient money? KCM is not running now so where are you going to get the foreign currency to cover your loans? The major source of foreign currency is the mines. Now if the third of that amount which you have borrowed is actually corruption money, it is going into individual pockets, how can you sustain that? It is not possible! Because that money has gone into individual pockets and the President himself has already said ‘yes’ he has a corrupt government that money is not going into that asset which can yield the profitability that can enable you to pay that loan. So you can talk about a debt of $11.2 billion but how much of it is genuinely productive?”
And Sichinga doubted the accuracy of government’s official debt figures.
“How are reliable are those figures? That is the first question we have to answer. We are not able to take the Minister’s word for it because we actually know that many many items that are obtained, we are talking about the issues of loans and so on have not be disclosed. So we are not sure that the figures he has given to us are in fact accurate. The figure of the debt is questionable! How much of it is sovereign guaranteed of that amount? The second one, the local debt how true is it? How accurate is it? How many companies have gone out and borrowed on the global market on the basis that they are operating from here, Zambia? Let us take in mind the mining companies, the mining companies which include Vedanta through KCM and of course Mopani; how much have they borrowed on the basis of their operations here in Zambia? Because all that debt is contingent on Zambia’s ability to be able to produce the commodity which those companies can sell to sustain their own debts,” said Sichinga.
“There is the local debt itself; how much is in what we call productive investments? In other words, that they can yield a return to enable paying that debt, that is what the IMF means when its talks about debt sustainability. Can you pay that debt based on what is coming out as a yield, as a profit, as a benefit, as an income that is coming from that investment? When IMF is talking about debt sustainability, they are saying that ‘ you have contracted debt; you have taken loans, how are you going to sustain those loans? Can you pay them over the period you say you will pay them?’”
About Ulande Nkomesha
Ulande is a reporter with an experience in radio broadcasting. He loves following current affairs and interacting with politicians.
Email: ulande [at] diggers [dot] newsRelated Items
- Cabinet debates total lockdown (29,838 views)
- Sangwa asks Lungu to declare State of Emergency (9,472 views)
- Let’s sympathise with Lungu and help him, or we will all perish! (9,093 views)
- Zambia’s economy will take years to recover from Coronavirus - Siliya (8,385 views)
- Zambian student chased from Chinese University over suspected COVID-19 (6,684 views)
Subscribe for news email alerts
ArchivesApr0 PostsMay0 PostsJun0 PostsJul0 PostsAug0 PostsSep0 PostsOct0 PostsNov0 PostsDec0 Posts
- «March 2020»
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- COVID-19 cases rise to 29
- We’ve started mobilizing funds to fight COVID-19 – Ng’andu
- Philosophy & Homosexuality
- Let’s sympathise with Lungu and help him, or we will all perish!
- Cabinet debates total lockdown
- What will be Mr Lungu’s achievements by 2021?
- Chitalu announces 6 more Covid-19 cases
- Zambia’s economy will take years to recover from Coronavirus – Siliya
- LCC not ready for COVID-19, says Mayor
- COVID-19 cases rise to 22
- Topstar removes Prime TV from its platforms
The News Diggers
Deputy News Editor
Send this to a friend