Govt should seriously service its debts-PSDA

THE new government should ensure to put in place measures which help service both international and local debt, says the Private Sector and Development Association (PSDA) chairperson Yusuf Dodia.

Zambia’s external debt as at December 2015 stood at US$6.4 billion, representing 38.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was below the internationally accepted threshold of 40 percent.

Mr Dodia said in an interview that the association expected to see a few changes in the governance system such as the introduction of measures which would help Zambia reduce debt.

“President Lungu should carefully and consciously select those to man key ministerial positions such as finance, commerce and industry, mining and agriculture to ensure that we have a Government that is going to deliver.

“Given that we have a huge international and domestic debt, I think his decision will have to have a clear vision how they will reduce that debt so that it does not become a burden to the economy,” he said.

He however hoped that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme would slow down expenditure and squeeze the Government into having a smaller budget while channelling funds to debt servicing and other areas of commitment.

“We know the IMF were here some few months ago and I am very sure that another mission will be coming in very soon.

“We all know that the IMF comes with hostile measures which means will slow down expenditure and squeeze the Government into having a smaller budget so that money can be made available for debt servicing and for other areas of commitment,” he said.

Mr Dodia also observed the need of revamping the railway network which would be an alternative way of providing cheaper transport to the public.

“Zambia is 2,000 kilometres from the nearest coast line and shifting goods to the ports and from the ports is very expensive by road. So we need to revamp the railway network to provide cheaper alternative transport,’’ he said.