LUSAKA, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Zambia is committed to ensuring
that debt is contained within sustainable levels through
continued austerity measures, President Edgar Lungu said on
Zambia, Africa’s No.2 copper producer is struggling with
high debt levels and shrinking foreign currency reserves, and
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said growth is likely
to remain subdued over the medium term.
Lungu said at a media conference that the government is
implementing several policy measures to protect the vulnerable
and reduce the cost of running the government.
“The medium-term debt strategy has been developed to inform
the path for debt sustainability,” Lungu said.
The government has suspended some infrastructure projects
and was also curbing travel expenditure of senior officials,
Lungu said the government was also trying to ensure that
only genuine employees were on the public sector wage bill.
Zambia has made progress in its energy sector reforms,
intended to leave fuel imports to the private sector and to
increase electricity tariffs to cover the cost of producing the
power, he said.
Lungu said Zambia could generate adequate resources
internally to meet its development needs but this was being
compromised by low tax compliance levels.
Zambia’s external debt rose to $10.05 billion at the end of
2018, compared with $8.74 billion a year earlier, raising fears
that the country is headed for a debt crisis.
Zambia has delayed the receipt of loans totalling $2.6
billion contracted last year in order to rein in its soaring
Zambia will avoid a default and will continue to shun new
loans as it reins in lending and expenditure, Finance Minister
Bwalya Ng’andu said in August.
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