CONCERNS INREASE AS ITS PREDICTED ZAMBIA'S DEBT WILL GROW TO US$24 BILLION IN THE NEXT 3 YEARS
Zambia’s Former Finance Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane has projected that Zambia will have a total debt of $24.46 billion by 2021 if the current borrowing trends by the PF government continues.
Dr Musokotwane said the PF Government has been borrowing US $2.46 billion per annum which means that within a space of 5 years, the PF Government has borrowed the equivalent of US $12.29 ...billion.
He said the current borrowing trends will see the country’s debt levels ballooning to $24.46 billion by 2021, when the PF’s term of office comes to an end.
Dr Situmbeko who is also Chairman for Finance and Economic in the opposition UPND said this level of debt will imply an economic catastrophe for Zambia.
“This is why the IMF and local independent economists are calling on the government to scale down on borrowing. This is why the IMF are refusing to assist Zambia unless the government demonstrates credible commitment to slowing down on borrowing,” Dr Situmbeko stated.
“Let me present these facts from another perspective. In 2011 when the PF Government took office, Government used 17% of domestic revenues to service its debt. By 2014, this ratio had increased to 25% and by 2017, it increased further to 29%. If the government does not scale back on new loans, the percentage of revenue allocated to debt servicing could even reach 40 percent over the next six years,” he predicted.
DESPITE PUBLIC OUTCRY NKANDA LUO CONFIRMS COPPERBELT AND UNZA WILL REMAIN SHUT
Minister of Higher Education, Nkandu Luo says the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU) will remain closed until the institutions meet the public health requirements.
Prof. Luo said the continued closure of the institutions is in the best interest of the general public because the two universities host a large population which would have put the students at risk had they o...pened when cholera broke out in the country.
The minister said this in a ministerial statement delivered in Parliament yesterday.
Prof. Luo stated that the hygiene standards at the Public institutions have gone down.
She said the inspections at the learning institutions which are being conducted as a result of the epidemic would continue and will be undertaken every fortnight.
Prof. Luo added that the inspections will ensure that high standards of hygiene are maintained at the two highest institutions of learning.
She however said her ministry realizes the important role the institutions play in the economic dispensation of the country.
Prof. Luo added that her ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Health, Local government and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to ensure that sanitation levels at the institutions are worked on.
She said the move is meant to protect the health of the students, staff and general public.
GOVERNMENT LOOKING TO HAVE 2021 BALLOT PAPERS PRINTED LOCALLY
Vice President, Inonge Wina has reaffirmed the government’s plans to print the 2021 ballot papers locally as long as technical security matters are addressed.
The Vice President stated that ballot papers are very sensitive and hence require adequate technical securit, a somewhat ironic statement given the questions raised over the UAE printers last election who were accused of fraud....
Mrs Wina disclosed that government has since constituted a committee that will oversee issues of technical security. She further said the committee will continuously monitor the issue of security at government printers.
Mrs. Wina was responding to a question from Nangoma Member of Parliament Boyd Hamusonde who wanted to know whether government has any plans to print ballot papers for the 2021 general elections locally.
PF IN PANIC OVER LOO ROLL WITH LUNGU'S FACE ON
The ruling Patriotic Front has warned that it will report anyone found circulating images of toilet papers which shows President Edgar Lungu’s portrait.
PF Media Director Sunday Chanda said the PF has distanced itself from images of tissue and sweets circulating on social media bearing the portrait of the Head of State....
Mr Chanda has described the images as malicious work of the Opposition and has that it nothing to do with the PF.
“These images are in bad taste and proves the calibre of Opposition we have in Zambia. Zambians know that there are political parties in this country which have made tissue politics as their mainstay of identity,” Mr Chanda said.
“We have refused to join in the race to the bottom because as Patriotic Front, we are above tissues. We are an issue-based political Party,” he said.
Mr Chanda said the ruling Patriotic Front reserves the right to report any defamatory material in circulation to the relevant security wings as provided for by the law.
The PF Media Director cited Section 69 of the Penal code which states that clear that any person who, with intent to bring the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt, publishes any defamatory or insulting matter, whether by writing, print, word of mouth or in any other manner, is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years.
“It is our earnest desire that freedom of expression continues to thrive but that demands responsibilities too. We, therefore advise the general public not to fall for the Opposition’s cheap and malicious smear campaign,” he said.
“Patriotic Front wishes to reiterate its call for issue-based politics because that is what Zambians have demanded for. We further challenge the Opposition to raise the bar of engagement with the ruling Party by providing proper checks and balances. Our people deserve better and must get better from the body politic.”
YET ANOTHER COLLEGE GRINDS TO A HALT - LECTURERS DOWN TOOLS AT NKANA COLLEGE
Lecturers at Nkana College of Education have downed tools demanding that management at the institution pay them their salaries and improve working conditions.
The workers took to the City Square expressing disappointment that management at the institution had failed to pay their salaries for the past 9 months....
They said management has in the past remained adamant about addressing their issues and that they have now been left with no option but to abandon work and press management to pay them their dues.
“For the past 8-9 months, we have not seen our salaries so we are wondering what type of administration this is because how do you expect someone to continue working while we are not being paid?
“This is the worst of its kind; management seems not to be bothered with our challenges. When students do not pay they are automatically sent away but why are they failing to pay us,” the teachers argued.
The lecturers have clarified that until their salaries are paid they will not go back to work.
“We have families as well and we deserve to be treated like human beings and not in this manner. We have raised our issues with management on several occasions and nothing positive has come up so the best is to withdraw labour for now,” the lecturer’s representative said.
OPPOSITION CONDEMN KABILA'S STATE VISIT
Leader of the opposition in Parliament Jack Mwiimbu has charged that it is shameful President Edgar Lungu hosted Congolese leader Joseph Kabila in Lusaka.
Mr Mwiimbu who is also UPND Monze Central Member of Parliament also charged that it was disgraceful for President Lungu to state that the international community should not interfere with the happenings in the DRC not least due to the fact Kabila is described as a butcher of Congo an...
MOZAMBIQUE RUBBISH DUMP COLLAPSE KILLS AT LEAST 17 PEOPLE
At least 17 people have been killed after heavy rains caused the partial collapse of a rubbish dump in Mozambique.
A 15-metre high pile of rubbish collapsed, destroying seven houses, and rescuers fear more bodies may be buried under the debris....
The accident happened at the Hulene landfill, six miles from the centre of the capital, Maputo. A spokesman for the emergency services, Leonilde Pelembe, warned it was likely there were more victims under the waste.
“The information we received from local authorities is that the number of people living in those houses exceeds the number of deaths recorded,” Mr Pelembe said.
The Hulene district of Maputo is one of the most deprived parts of the capital. Many, including children, have little choice but to make their homes either on or next to the dump, the dump not only provides them with food but also goods to sell.
We will continue to keep you updated as more information comes in.
PF CADRES ATTACK UPND SUPPORTERS IN EASTERN PROVINCE
Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo has confirmed that there was a clash between UPND and PF supporters in Sinda town in Eastern province. Ms Katongo also dispelled rumours that one person was shot in Sinda yesterday morning.
She said the correct story was that while some UPND supporters from Sinda were getting ready to proceed to Chipata for their party programme yesterday, PF supporters coming from Petauke who also had the...ir party activity in Sinda spotted them, disembarked from their motor vehicle and begun throwing stones at them.
She said police officers rushed to the scene and managed to calm the situation.
Katongo said two UPND supporters identified as Tobias Banda aged 46 and Patricia Banda aged 50 sustained injuries and medical report forms have been issued.
Katongo also dispelled allegations by some UPND supporters who reported to Sinda Police that they had seen a Police Officer only identified as Mulenga among the PF supporters from Petauke carrying a gun.
She said upon verification, the report by UPND proved to be false as Petauke Police has no officer bearing that name and that no firearm was discharged.
She has since called on all Political Parties to promote peace and avoid bringing about instability as they go about their party activities.
ZAMBIAN ACTOR SHINES IN NEW 'BLACK PANTHER' MOVIE
Zambian actor, Patrick Shumba Mutukw, has recently given an interview on what it is like to be part of such an iconic film. Talking to Time Machine Zambia the actor explained it was an ‘unbelievable experience.’
TMZ: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and upbringing?...
KABILA'S MOTORCADE INVOLVED IN SECOND ROAD ACCIDENT
There has been another serious road traffic accident involving President Kabila’s motorcade. This time along Leopards Hill Road opposite the Saudi Arabian and French Embassies and involving a Zambian Police officer who was on Presidential escort duties for the visiting President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila.
This comes after Tuesday’s accident where five people were killed following an accident involvin...g a cement truck and Mr Kabila’s presidential motorcade as he was returning to the capital, Kinshasa. President Kabila’s spokesman said the accident was caused by “heavy rain”, although early reports suggested speed was a factor.
In Sunday’s incident, a Zambian police officer identified as Inspector Kayula collided with a Toyota Dyna which failed to give way to the Presidential Motorcade.
The driver of the Toyota Dyna Andrew Phiri sustained a fractured left leg, arm and multiple cuts on the forehead and was rushed to UTH while the driver of the Mazda escaped unhurt.
Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo confirmed the accident and said investigations have been instituted.
KITWE BUS STATION UNDER SEIGE BY PF CADRES
According to local reports Patriotic Front cadres have invaded bus stations in Kitwe and begun charging over K500 to operators.
Former Kitwe Deputy Mayor Godfridah Chulu has complained that the PF cadres are inviting lawlessness in the transport sector.
She says the Kitwe City Councils’ revenue collection has dropped as a result of cadres taking over councils. She asked District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu not to tolerate such lawlessness.
“DC we have a very serious problem in these stations why are we allowing these boys we call security to be collecting such huge amounts of money in bus stations? This is a serious problem we must all address otherwise Council collection will continue to go down,” Chulu said.
In response, the District Commissioner blamed politicians for allowing such lawlessness in bus stations.
“It is you politicians creating these problems. You are always coming to my office that they are your people and we must allow them to be there, so its a challenge back to you deal with those issues because it is you who bring them,” Mpundu said.
Lawlessness has invaded bus stations with PF cadres collecting more revenue than the council on a daily basis depriving it of the much-needed revenue.
KABILA AND LUNGU DISCUSS REGIONS STABILITY 'DRC PEACEFUL' MAINTAINS KABILA
Visiting Democratic Republic (DRC) President Joseph Kabila has made an assurance to the international community that he is committed to ensuring that all pockets of instability ravaging some parts of that country are dealt with.
And President Edgar Lungu says he is optimistic that the DRC will soon settle its political issues following the agreement president Kabila signed on December 31, 2016, to all...ow a free election in that county.
President Kabila, who is in Zambia for a two-day visit at the invitation of President Lungu, made that assurance when he held bilateral talks with President Lungu at Statehouse yesterday stating the situation in the DRC was mainly peaceful and secure.
He, however, admitted that there were still some political challenges that are synonymous with any country practising democracy.
“Irrespective of what you hear on radio and television, tell me of any country that has no challenges. Such a country is probably in paradise. We have our hotspots and we are dealing with those problems,” he said.
President Kabila said his mission in the country was to ensure that the borders between the two countries were free of instability to enhance trade and infrastructure development.
He said the two countries have potential in mining and energy sectors which if well explored would immensely benefit the two countries economically.
And President Lungu said he was aware of the instability in the Eastern region but also that elsewhere in Congo, things were seemingly working normally, a development he said should be applauded.
However, the President expressed concern about the international influence to heightened electoral process in the DRC stating that it would be better to leave the country to run its affairs with minimal interference.
“We get more joy from the fact that the resources you are ploughing in the electoral processes are locally generated and this gives us hope the whole process will be owned by the people of DRC,” President Lungu said.
He said DRC could count on Zambia as a brotherly neighbouring country to support her in any way it could to mitigate the challenges that were being encountered from the political angle.
Zambia is currently hosting more than 14,000 refugees from the DRC, a situation that has continued to be on the rise.
Mr Kabila arrived yesterday at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport yesterday 15:00 and was received by Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji.
ZAMBIA FAILS TO SECURE IMF DEAL
The International Monetary Fund has rejected Zambia’s latest borrowing plans, saying they risk making it harder for the country to sustain its debt load, the IMF said on Friday.
Zambia had hoped to have a $1.3 billion loan agreement with the IMF completed early this year, Treasury Secretary Fredson Yamba said in November. The IMF’s rejection puts those plans on hold. It was the second time the IMF had rejected a Zambian proposal. In August 2017..., it also turned down borrowing plans it said threatened debt sustainability.
IMF staff then requested new borrowing plans before it would resume talks on a lending programme, the IMF said from Washington in a written response to a press query.
“However, the latest borrowing plans provided by the authorities continue to compromise the country’s debt sustainability and risk undermining its macroeconomic stability and, ultimately, living standards of its people,” the IMF said.
“Against this background, any future programme discussions can only take place once the Zambian authorities implement credible measures that ensure debt contraction is consistent with a key programme objective of stabilizing debt dynamics and putting them on a declining trend in the medium term.”
Treasury officials could not be reached for comment. Zambia’s total public debt at the end of August 2017 stood at $12.45 billion representing 47 percent of the gross domestic product.
The IMF will continue to engage with Zambia through regular discussions and technical assistance, the fund said.
Zambia and the IMF agreed in October to chart a new path towards debt sustainability after the IMF delayed the conclusion of talks, saying it was at high risk of debt distress.
LUNGU'S SOUTHERN AFRICAN ALLIES DROPPING LIKE FLIES
There is no doubt that President Lungu felt some sense of sorrow to see his friend Mugabe overthrown, they had been close allies and many argued Mugabe was teaching Lungu the tricks of the trade. But a few months later another close ally of President Lungu’s has departed – much to his dismay.
Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, has resigned after days of defying orders from the ruling African National Congress to leav...
TENSIONS RISE FOLLOWING MWANAKATWE'S PROMOTION
Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has opposed the appointment of Margaret Mwanakatwe as Finance Minister.
TIZ Executive Director Wesley Chibamba says although Mrs. Mwanakatwe is qualified for the job, she is not qualified to serve as Minister on account of the High Court’s nullification of her election as Lusaka Central MP for allegedly engaging in electoral malpractices, a decision she has appealed against in the Constitut...ional Court.
He has questioned how President Lungu will fight corruption working with people whose seats have been nullified.
Mr. Chibamba says what President Lungu should have done was to fire Mrs Mwanakatwe and Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo whose seats were nullified by the High court on account of engaging in electoral malpractices.
And Governance Activist David Kapoma has expressed concern over the appointment of Margaret Mwanakatwe as Finance Minister, saying Felix Mutati was equal to the task.