FORMER Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu says he is not aware that the PF government acquired new debt even during the campaign period as he left that office in May.
And Dr Ng’andu has asked newly appointed Finance Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane to give the exact figures of the amount he found in the government reserves at the time he took office.
Commenting on Dr Musokotwane’s remarks that some reports he had received indicated that the PF government was making things worse by acquiring new debt even during the campaign period and that they had left the Treasury empty, Dr Ng’andu said he was unaware about the debt contraction during elections.
“On the issue of government borrowing during the elections, as you are aware I vacated the position of Minister in May this year and basically I am not privy to specific information on what could have happened and what didn’t happen. But there are two people who can give you that information, he himself as Minister can tell you that ‘this is the borrowing that took place. We can specifically indicate to you who was the creditor? How much they were borrowing? And for what purpose?’ I m not in a position to give that information but he can,” Dr Ng’andu said.
“But also another person you can speak to is the Secretary to the Treasury to tell you what transpired during that period. In as much as I would like to comment on it, I am not in the position to comment on the specific. But that information is not difficult to find, because it is a matter of record, that this is what happened. So ask him to be honest about it and frank about giving this information rather than speaking, it is not helpful.”
And Dr Musokotwane’s statement that they inherited empty coffers did not mean much.
“Okay two things, one thing is this, if the Minister makes a statement that they have inherited empty coffers, ask him the question, what were the balances? What was the position of the foreign reserves at the time he walked into the office? He should give you the numbers. A statement like ‘I have empty coffers’ doesn’t mean very much. So, speak to him and ask him a more detailed question to give information regarding what he found. He is the best person to answer that question because he is in a position to look at the numbers. I hope he will be honest in giving you the numbers,” said Dr Ng’andu.