Editor's Comment

Liars are economic saboteurs

CITIZENS and other stakeholders should heed the World Bank’s counsel for accurate reporting on Zambia’s debt status.
This is so as World Bank country economist Zivanemoyo Chinzara stated that failure to do so has potential to erode investor confidence in the country.
This is so true for Zambia some of whose citizens are abusing their freedom of speech on social media by spreading falsehoods about the country’s debt.
This is despite the Ministry of Finance updating the country on the debt status which remains sustainable and not at crisis levels, as some doomsayers would want the nation to believe.
Given the country’s backlog of under-development, it has become necessary for Government to borrow to upgrade infrastructure as well as building the capacity of its people.
This is necessary for Zambia to have a firm base on which to build its economy and thus improve the standards of living for most, if not all, citizens.
However, Zambia is so polarised and people are taking advantage of social media to portray a negative picture about the country for reasons best known to themselves but obviously with the hope that citizens will turn against Government.
Unfortunately, many people are addicted to social media and are vulnerable to such falsehoods. This is evidenced by some posted reactions to these lies.
It is worrisome that while some of the people being fed with these lies are merely ignorant, there are some who are educated enough to distinguish sense from the nonsense being purveyed.
Citizens ought to be alert and not be swayed by social media misinformation. Government regularly provides information on the country’s debt and it has no reason to falsify it. In any case, this is information that is verifiable.
The media plays a very important role as a tool for socio-economic development, hence it should always strive to be truthful and objective because these should be its virtues.
If media does not play its role objectively, the country could be perceived as being in a crisis and too risky to invest in. Apparently, this is the objective of the fake news disseminators.
This is why it is important to rely on verifiable information as that provided by the Ministry of Finance.
This way, citizens would know and appreciate the prudent and transparent management of national resources. All citizens are entitled to knowing the debt stock being held by their country.
Secondly, citizens also need to know why and how the debt was contracted.
That is why the Ministry of Finance regularly updates the country either through press releases or through ministerial statements in Parliament, where our people’s representatives sit.
Through such platforms, Government avails all information pertaining to debt stock and how the borrowed resources were applied.
Disclosure also shows transparency. Government also shows accountability when it declares the debt.
As Dr Chinzara has said, improving on debt reporting is key in mitigating negative sentiments. He has also dispelled assertions that Zambia is in a debt crisis.
It is a pity that recent months have been characterised by debate on Zambia’s debt with most of the articles published being inaccurate.
Perhaps it is time to begin to take liars to task. Zambia cannot afford to have people denting the image of the country and possibly keeping investors away.
This is tantamount to economic sabotage and these disseminators of false and damaging information should be treated as such.

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