Situmbeko Musokotwane responds to Emmanuel Mwamba’s foolishness over debt.
The Finance Minister writes below:
When then UPND government took over in 2021, the PF government had already DEFAULTED on both debts to Official Creditors and to the Private Creditors. And no solution was in sight. The defaulting was in the aftermath of the unsustainable debts acquired by the PF government. The PF government had earlier dismissed all advice, local and external, to slow down on debt because it was soon going to be a big problem.
The UPND government immediately set out to resolve the debt. Last year, the government without any doubt managed to restructure the country’s debt with the Official Creditors. That is done and dusted. It was therefore justified that the country indeed celebrated this leg of success with one category of the Creditors. At no point ever did the PF government get anywhere to reaching agreement with official creditors to restructure Zambia’s debt.
What remained is the debt with Private Creditors. Negotiations were promptly started with this category culminating in an agreement with them. Again, the PF government never ever reached any agreement with private creditors. Not even mere talks were ever initiated.
The understanding among all creditors and financial supporters (e.g. IMF, World Bank etc) is that the debt restructuring by all categories of creditors must be comparable. Accordingly the offer by the private creditors was interrogated by the other parties. The opinion of the other parties was that the offer by private creditors to restructure Zambia’s debt did not meet some criteria and therefore needed improvements.
At this stage further discussions are on going to reach understanding on what will constitute an acceptable proposal by private creditors to restructure Zambia’s debt.
Emmanuel Mwamba now sees this as failure. He is wrong!
Agreement with Official Creditors was sealed as indicated above. And now, efforts to reach agreement with private creditors are continuing so that debt restructuring is achieved in totality.
The UPND government has therefore made very good progress in resolving Zambia’s debt crisis. There is still somework remaining but the progress is there and this effort will succeed.
Emmanuel Mwamba was part of the PF government that caused this problem of debt and failed to address the same problem they caused. To this day the country continues to suffer from ripple effects of the debt crisis. And for all the money borrowed, the PF left behind pending development challenges like huge unpaid bills of fuel supplied, lack of teachers in schools, no classrooms, non functioning railway, deteriorating high ways, unpaid pensioners, etc.
It is amazing, therefore, that rather than recognize efforts being made to solve the debt problem that they left, Mwamba is relishing on temporal setbacks like that of the uncompleted restructuring of the private creditors. It is as if he derives satisfaction in the peoples suffering which his own government left on the people through the unsustainable debt they acquired.