$144 million released for debt

Government complex.

GOVERNMENT has this year spent US$144 million on servicing the external debt which currently stands at US$7.2 billion.

And Government has come up with a medium-term debt strategy that provides a framework for prudent debt management and restricts its borrowing.
Ministry of Finance permanent secretary for economic management Mukuli Chikuba said in an interview that Government will continue making efforts to reduce the country’s debt burden.
Mr Chikuba said Zambia’s domestic debt currently stands at K38.6 billion as at the end of May this year compared to K33 billion at the end of December last year.
“In terms of external debt service, last year we paid US$482 million compared to US$309 million in 2015. So far for 2017, we have paid US$144.2 million,” Mr Chikuba said.
He said Government is determined to reduce both the domestic and external debts, hence its move to come up with a medium-term debt management strategy.
“We will not do borrowing beyond what we projected to borrow this year. This position is supporting lending rates, we expect lending rates to start coming down and support economic activities,” Mr Chikuba said.
He said Government has taken a number of measures aimed at growing the economy.
Mr Chikuba said the removal of subsidies on fuel and maize are some of the measures aimed at saving resources for other economic activities.
He also said the Kwacha will remain stable for the rest of this year with the country’s economy expected to grow by 5.6 percent in 2018 and six percent in 2019.
Mr Chikuba said this year’s maize bumper harvest, improved electricity supply and the rise in copper prices on the international market will positively impact on the country’s economy and exchange rate.

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