Zam­bia pays over US $800m to­wards debt

MORE than US$ 800 mil­lion has so far been paid in debt ser­vic­ing this year alone, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Margaret Mwanakatwe has an­nounced.

Daily Nation Newspaper - - FRONT PAGE - By AARON CHIYANZO

This is why within the cur­rent ses­sion of Par­lia­ment, I will be pre­sent­ing spe­cific de­tails on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of aus­ter­ity mea­sures re­lated P.4 to debt — Ms Mwanakatwe.

And Ms Mwanakatwe de­scribed the just-ended 2018 an­nual meet­ings of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group that were held in Bali, In­done­sia, as a suc­cess­ful. The min­is­ter said govern­ment was work­ing round the clock to en­sure that the coun­try’s bonds and debt re­turned to the level that other emerg­ing mar­ket bonds were trad­ing at. She said in a state­ment that the suc­cess­ful bi­lat­eral meet­ings with de­vel­op­ment part­ners, the cor­dial busi­ness meet­ings and the great in­vestor fo­rums which the Zam­bian del­e­ga­tion had in Bali were sig­nals that the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­form poli­cies and pro­grammes were of in­ter­na­tional mar­ket stan­dard. Ms Mwanakatwe said that the poli­cies and pro­grammes would con­tinue to at­tract qual­ity stake­holder in­ter­est, both lo­cally and in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity be­cause they had cred­i­ble third party in­ter­na­tional val­i­da­tion. “Apart from at­tend­ing the meet­ings, pub­lic events and di­a­logue with the two Bret­ton Woods or­gan­i­sa­tions, my del­e­ga­tion held bi­lat­eral meet­ings with in­sti­tu­tions such as the De­part­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (DFID) of the United King­dom, the Ja­panese Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA), the Arab Bank for African De­vel­op­ment (BADEA). “The del­e­ga­tion also had a coun­try-level bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Swe­den and had busi­ness meet­ings with Stan­dard Char­tered Bank, Franklin Tem­ple­ton, Gold­man Sachs, Lazard, White Oak, Moody’s, and Stan­dard & Poor’s. The min­is­ter also re­quested World Bank and IMF, based on their re­spec­tive man­dates, to help Zam­bia in fur­ther strength­en­ing the fis­cal po­si­tion by im­prov­ing debt man­age­ment ca­pac­ity, in­creas­ing do­mes­tic re­source mo­bil­i­sa­tion and deep­en­ing lo­cal cap­i­tal mar­kets. Ms Mwanakatwe said that through such in­ter­ac­tions, Zam­bia was work­ing round the clock to en­sure that the bonds and debt re­turn to the level that other emerg­ing mar­ket bonds were trad­ing at. She said govern­ment’s thoughts res­onated with those of its de­vel­op­ment part­ners that debt vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties over the last few years posed the risk of re­vers­ing the ben­e­fits of ear­lier debt relief ini­tia­tives. “This is why within the cur­rent ses­sion of Par­lia­ment, I will be pre­sent­ing spe­cific de­tails on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of aus­ter­ity mea­sures re­lated to debt,” said Ms Mwanakatwe. Ms Mwanakatwe said that the ef­fort was 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.

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