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CUTS challenges Govt on debt restructuring 

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU 

The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has challenged Government to publish a timeline on Zambia’s debt restructuring process to allow citizens and other stakeholders be informed on the procedure.

CUTS has also expressed concern with the unresolved implementation challenges for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) given the tight fiscal space.

On the debt restructuring, CUTS acting Centre Coordinator Angela Mulenga said it was prudent for Government to avail information to the citizens on the time it would take to conclude the process.

“The valley is squarely in the court of the Ministry of Finance and National Development to lead the way in public disclosure of information and to expedite the establishment of a debt office that will play a key role in providing oversight,” Ms Mulenga said at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday.

Going forward, she said, amending the Public Debt Management Act 2022 to include provisions relating to collective agreement clauses and other conditionalities that may arise in dealing with international sovereign debt restructuring legislation.

On the CDF, Ms Mulenga said CUTS remained concerned with the unresolved implementation challenges given the tight fiscal space.

She urged Government to accelerate the review of relevant frameworks such as the CDF act no.11 of 2018 and the CDF guidelines to address the implementation of bottlenecks.

“This will be very important in ensuring the efficient use of resources,” Ms Mulenga emphasised.

Meanwhile, Ms Mulenga stressed the need for Government to reduce its appetite for domestic borrowing which has crowded out the small and medium entrepreneurs and made access to finance more costly and less accessible.

She pointed out that reining in of domestic borrowing would avail more resources to the private sector and spur economic growth.

“It is worth noting that the private sector plays an important role in the growth of the economy,” Ms Mulenga said. At the same function, CUTS Programme Officer Allan Chitwamali, emphasised   reviewing and revisiting the CDF guidelines to ensure its intended purpose of decentralisation.

Mr Chitwamali said: “we need to speed up revision of CDF guidelines and act so that they are reinforced to encourage decentralisation. These are key to ensure its intended usefulness.”

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