• Leading to the 2021 general elections.
• As Zambia looks to get further relief under the World Bank’s Global Financing Facility program, utilisation of funds must be done within institutionalised accountability frameworks.
• Key to the process of debt management & potential recovery is the need to ensure transparency & accountability.
Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) says it is important to make public debt management a key campaign message with regards to Zambia’s current debt position, leading to the 2021 general elections.
In a statement issued to Money FM News, CUTS Assistant Programmes Officer. Aquila Ng’onga, said Civil society Organisation (CSO’s) have a huge role to play in ensuring that politicians take on debt management as part of their campaign strategy.
Mr. Ng’onga however said this can only be effective if sufficient dialogue around debt management and recovery are clearly understood.
He further revealed that the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS Lusaka) on the 19th of May 2021 organized a civil society and media capacity building training on Public Debt.
“This was done under the CUTS’ project entitled ‘Advocacy for Prudent Debt Management in Zambia’. ”
Mr Ng’onga explained the main objective of this project was to enhance capacity of civil society and the media to engage on issues of public debt.
He said the session involved presentations on topics on Zambia’s debt position, Tax Policy and Domestic Resource Mobilization, IMF Engagements and Public Financial Management.
“The topics shed light on the present fiscal performance and also recognised the importance of Domestic Resource Mobilization and the need to tackle tax evasion and illicit financial flows.”
The Assistant Programs Officer pointed out that “A need for strengthening debt management over the large stock of contracted, but undisbursed debt was discussed, to ensure clear prioritization of projects and agreement on the pace of project execution was raised.”
“In relation to Public Financial Management (PFM), strong Public Financial Management systems were presented as essential for improved service delivery and poverty reduction, but key to this was that there was need to have a well-functioning system backed by legal and regulatory frameworks,” he explained.
According to Aquila Ngo’nga, the need for CSOs to re-strategise on their engagement with Ministry of Finance on the Loans & Guarantees Act was also cited as being of utmost importance.
Mr Ng’onga said it was futher agreed that as Zambia looks to get further relief under the World Bank’s Global Financing Facility program, utilisation of funds must be done within institutionalised accountability frameworks that will allow both CSOs and ordinary citizens to track and monitor spending against initial allocation.
“CUTS Centre Director Dr. Claudia Pollen noted that key to the process of debt management & potential recovery is the need to ensure transparency & accountability on the part of Government and other players with regards to Zambia’s overall debt and related information dissemination,” he revealed.