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Govt pays US$800m in debt service


Government has disclosed that it has this year paid over US$ 800 million in debt service.
Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe says Zambia has not registered any default.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe says Government’s thoughts resonate with the thoughts of the development partners that debt vulnerabilities over the last few years pose the risk of reversing the benefits of earlier debt relief initiatives.
She says this is why within the current session of Parliament, she will be presenting specific details on the implementation of austerity measures related to debt.
“The effort is already being complimented by solid policy frameworks, plans for adequate fiscal and external buffers as stated in the 2019 Budget Address, and sustainable and transparent lending practices as espoused in the Medium Term Debt Strategy. Otherwise, the investors in our Eurobonds and other financing facilities would have activated cross-default provisions in accordance with international debt market regulations,” she said.
The Finance Minister has also requested World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) based on their respective mandates, to help Zambia in further strengthening the fiscal position by improving debt management capacity, increasing domestic resource mobilization and deepening local capital markets.
“We stand on firm grounds in implementing of the Public Financial Management Act. Through quarterly reports, we have also embarked on a progress tracking system that will help to strengthen monitoring and demonstrate that tax-payers money is being used prudently. We need a clear picture on the size of the Zambian economy due to its changed structure from 2010 to date, therefore, we have set aside funds in the 2019 budget for rebasing the Gross Domestic Product in order to better measure our economy,” Mrs. Mwanakatwe said.
And the Finance Minister says government looks forward to streamlining the Fintech Agenda into the Smart Zambia Programme to help the country in facilitating inclusive sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
She says this will be done by strengthening financial development and inclusion for households and firms, as well as improving efficiency and competition in the financial sector.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe says government looks forward to reducing the non-performing loans in the financial market from the current 11.9% to less than 10%.

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