PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says the debt situation is worrying and that Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu is doing everything possible to retain Zambia to sustainable debt levels.
Speaking when he met United States Charge d’Affaires David Young, Wednesday at State House, President Lungu said efforts were being made to ensure that the country meets its financial obligations.
“The other issue of interest to you is the outstanding debt. You can be assured that we take note of all those obligations which we have and the Minister of Finance will talk more to that on what measures will be taken to make sure that we meet our obligations. Because we realise that a bad name is not good enough, you can have good words but then your conduct should also show that you are good by meeting your obligations. So we are working out something,” President Lungu said.
“The debt situation is one worrying area and I think the Minister of Finance is doing everything to retain Zambia to sustainable debt levels. That also entails cancelling some of the pipeline loans or debts and so on. I think it is a question of dialogue with our cooperating partners and bilateral lenders. It is a very important thing to put this on record that we are re-profiling our debt and as you know we engaged legal and financial experts to advise us because we know that it is not business as usual. Things have changed especially with the COVID pandemic effects on our economy,”
He thanked the American government for complementing Zambia’s efforts in providing social service to the people.
“I would like to appreciate the support that the United States of America has provided to Zambia since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1964, that is a long time ago. The support we have been getting is common knowledge now mainly in social sectors, health, education and such areas particularly health, you have remained one of our key development partners from the time we became friends in 1964. For me, I think that the health sector has been the greatest beneficiary. I think we do realise the financial support which Zambia has received in the past ten years exceeds US$2 billion and that is a lot of money through various programs like PEPFAR and so on,” said President Lungu.
“Obviously, this support has been essential in that it has complemented our duty to preserve lives and without preserving human lives, how do we advance economically? So recently you pledged US$ 14.5 million to the COVID response, I think we are grateful for this, we know that others are helping and we should take note of that too but I think you stand out. You do this at a time when you are also hit by this COVID and this is exceptional. You are helping us and your country is one of the worst hit by this COVID-19 so we take this as a great measure of friendship. Otherwise you would be more worried about what is happening back home. This is a true commitment to friendship. Personally on behalf of the Zambian people all I can say is thank you to this US government for complementing our efforts in our quest to provide social services to our people.”