Mwanakatwe Asks For An Additional K7.2 Billion
As concerns over Zambia’s true debt levels continue, Finance Minister Mwanakatwe has asked for an additional K7.2 billion to be added to a supplementary budget. Whilst addressing Parliament she suggested that the extra funds would come from reallocating resources and ‘cooperating partners’ in addition to carry over funds from 2017 – for many the idea that there are any carry over funds from 2017 came as a surprise given Zambia’s exorbitant levels of debt.
She said of the total, 3.6 billion kwacha is for domestic and external debt obligations while 1.3 billion kwacha will be spent on completing infrastructure projects. The Finance Minister stated that 2.3 billion Kwacha will cover shortfalls on government-support programs, by-elections and the recruitment of a further 3,700 medical personnel.
Meanwhile, the IMF are expected back in Zambia next week as part of a series of consultations on the country’s debt levels. In February of this year the IMF rejected Zambia’s borrowing plans, stating that the PF government risked making it harder for the southern African country to sustain its debt load.
Copper-producing Zambia has since come up with a new debt plan it hopes will clear the way for the IMF to agree a $1.3 billion loan.
Zambia’s debt was sitting at $9.3 billion, roughly a third of its gross domestic product, at the end of March.