Zambia to manage debt within sustainable levels: President

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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - JANUARY 17 : Zambian President Edgar Lungu attends a High Level Consultation Meeting with African leaders on DR Congo election at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, on January 17, 2019. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO : Zambian President Edgar Lungu at a past event. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Zambian President Edgar Lungu reiterated his government’s commitment to ensuring that the country’s debt levels are managed within sustainable levels even as austerity measures are implemented.

Lungu, who addressed a press conference on Friday, said the government is enforcing a number to strategies aimed at shielding the vulnerable population and cutting government expenditure.

According to Lungu, certain infrastructure projects have been postponed and measures put in place to reduce the cost of VIPs travel. Additionally, efforts are underway to weed out ghost workers from the government payroll.

He added that steps have been made in Zambia’s energy sector reforms, which are geared towards leaving fuel imports to the private sector and raising electricity tariffs to cover the cost of producing power.

The President faulted the poor commitment to tax compliance in the country which he said was hindering Zambia’s ability to raise enough revenue internally to meet its development needs.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the growth of Zambia’s economy may stagnate in the medium term.

Zambia’s external debt stood at $10.05 billion as at the end of 2018, stoking fears that it could plunge into a debt crisis.

Zambia has held up the receipt of loans it secured in 2018 so as to control rising debt.

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