DEBT RESTRUCTURING CRITICAL
The government had estimated that the debt restructuring under the G20 Common Framework would be concluded in the first half of 2023 and this would then provide the much-needed fiscal space for the government to maneuver and establish long term sustainability. However, there has been slow progress concerning the debt restructuring process.
We therefore call on the Official Creditors Committee (OCC) to recognize this need and accelerate the negotiation process. Clearly, we understand that the debt restructuring process is a complex issue given the multiplicity of lenders such as official bilateral creditors, multilateral creditors, Eurobond investors among others however, the delays in the debt restructuring process will negatively affect Zambia’s ambitious economic recovery programme.
Similarly, as the government explores alternatives in the debt restructuring process, we call on the Debt Management Office to adhere to the principles of transparency and accountability – putting the interests of the Zambian people first, particularly in light of any unfavorable economic conditions.
Further, we call on the duty bearers and elected officials to remain vigilant in the debt restructuring process to minimize the risks of extended predatory financing and exploitative agreements between the Zambian Government and their creditors. The Public Debt Management Act enhanced oversight mechanisms which must be enforced for the benefit of all Zambians.
We are of the view that restructuring the debt will provide fiscal space that will allow Zambia to reboot its economy. The economy might collapse if restructuring measures are not taken seriously.
As an Institution that focuses on poverty reduction and works with the marginalized people in society, we wish to appeal to the creditors to put a human face and see the impact of this especially on women and the young people.
Musonda Kabinga (Mr)
Interim COUNTRY DIRECTOR-ZAMBIA