ZIPAR prods State on debt con­trol

Daily Nation Newspaper - - NORTH-WEST NEWS -

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

GOVERN­MENT should in­tro­duce a le­gal pro­vi­sion for the Min­istry of Fi­nance to pe­ri­od­i­cally set fis­cal rules that will strengthen debt man­age­ment, Zam­bia In­sti­tute for Pol­icy Re­search (ZIPAR) has sug­gested.

ZIPAR se­nior re­search fel­low, Cae­sar Cheelo, ex­plained that such legally bind­ing rules would sig­nif­i­cantly strengthen fis­cal and debt man­age­ment.

“One es­sen­tial el­e­ment that ZIPAR has been ad­vo­cat­ing for to be in­cor­po­rated into one or all the three pieces of leg­is­la­tion is a le­gal pro­vi­sion for the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance to pe­ri­od­i­cally set fis­cal rules,

“Th­ese are legally bind­ing, long-stand­ing quan­ti­ta­tive re­stric­tions on some bud­getary or fis­cal ag­gre­gates, par­tic­u­larly on ex­pen­di­ture, deficit fi­nanc­ing and over­all debt con­trac­tion,” he said.

Mr. Cheelo said in an in­ter­view that the Debt Man­age­ment Strat­egy was there­fore a good thing and a step in the right di­rec­tion which should be com­mended.

He, how­ever, said the au­thor­i­ties should care­fully con­sider mov­ing to the next step of debt man­age­ment, which was to cre­ate a ro­bust and re­li­able le­gal frame­work for fis­cal gov­er­nance.

“The Min­istry of Fi­nance's for­mu­la­tion and pub­lish­ing of the Debt Man­age­ment Strat­egy 2017-2019 is com­mend­able,

“Given the rapid ac­cu­mu­la­tion of pub­lic debt since 2011, a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy for man­ag­ing the speed of debt con­trac­tion, the com­po­si­tion of for­eign and do­mes­tic debt, the ra­tio­nal use of debt pro­ceeds, and the re­pay­ment of in­ter­est and prin­ci­ple amounts when they fall due was long over­due,” Mr Cheelo said.

Mr. Cheelo said some pieces of leg­is­la­tion such as the Plan­ning and Bud­get­ing Bill needed to be re­vised or for­mu­lated.

He also said the Loans and Guar­an­tees needed to be made more pub­li­cally avail­able so ci­ti­zens could com­ment about the ad­e­quacy of the re­vi­sions for im­prov­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of Par­lia­men­tary over­sight.

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