Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS - By NA­TION REPORTER

ZAM­BIA has con­tracted about US$ 2.2 bil­lion con­ces­sional and com­mer­cial debt from China on which govern­ment has never de­faulted, Min­istry of Fi­nance spokesman Chileshe Kan­deta has dis­closed.

Mr Kan­deta, who is head of me­dia and pub­lic re­la­tions, said the debt owed to China had been grossly mis­rep­re­sented on sev­eral oc­ca­sions de­spite govern­ment hav­ing re­peat­edly ex­plained to Zam­bians, co-op­er­at­ing part­ners and in­vestors that the debt com­prised con­ces­sional and com­mer­cial loans on which Zam­bia had not de­faulted.

He said in a state­ment that the US$ 2.2 bil­lion formed 25 per cent of the US$ 8.7 bil­lion to­tal ex­ter­nal debt that Zam­bia owed as at the end of De­cem­ber 2017.

“We have on sev­eral oc­ca­sions re­stated to our cit­i­zens, co­op­er­at­ing part­ners and in­vestors that the is­sues of debt from China have been grossly mis­rep­re­sented. The fact is that Zam­bia has con­tracted both con­ces­sional and com­mer­cial debt from the world’s sec­ond big­gest econ­omy and we have not de­faulted on any,” Mr Kan­deta said.

He re­it­er­ated that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of as­set li­a­bil­ity man­age­ment strat­egy on Zam­bia’s Eurobonds and for the loans from China was a pru­dent op­tion that was open to the coun­try and would be un­der­taken as and when the need and op­por­tu­nity arose.

“As pre­vi­ously in­di­cated by the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Ms Mar­garet Mwanakatwe, at the end of De­cem­ber 2017, Zam­bia’s debt was: ex­ter­nal debt – US$8.7bil­lion; do­mes­tic debt – K48.4bil­lion; and do­mes­tic ar­rears – K12.7bil­lion,” Mr Kan­deta said.

He added that Zam­bia had not de­faulted on any for­eign debt in­clud­ing Eurobond in­ter­est pay­ments and did not in­tend to de­fault for what­ever rea­son.

Mr Kan­deta

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