“UPND Criticizes Opposition’s misinformation on debt Restructuring”

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24 (30-03-2024) – The Secretary General of the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND), Betuke Imenda, has accused the opposition of deliberately misinforming citizens by distorting the narrative about Zambia’s debt restructuring, previously agreed upon with Official Creditors and Bondholders.

Imenda informed Zambia24 in a statement that President Hakainde Hichilema and his administration did not seek debt forgiveness because they believe they can repay the debt acquired by the PF, given an enabling fiscal space.

He emphasized that debt restructuring is not debt forgiveness, contrary to what doomsayers are attempting to propagate.

Regrettably, the party is aware of the opposition’s misinformation schemes regarding national issues.

“These people believe that the citizens of this country do not understand the difference between debt forgiveness and restructuring, hence their unbridled propaganda against this achievement by the New Dawn administration.

“But Zambians know that debt restructuring is a necessary exercise to rectify public finances, which were severely compromised by the Patriotic Front government’s financial indiscipline and recklessness,” he stated.

He asserted that restructuring the debt to pay later was necessary to create fiscal headroom for the country.

He pointed out that doomsayers should realize that they are only managing to annoy Zambians, who are the direct beneficiaries of this relief.

“If Zambians were made to pay back the $750 million in 2022, $1.3 billion in 2024, and another $1 billion in 2027, which the PF borrowed, their lives could have been in disarray,” he emphasized.

“Our people fully understand that this government has only been accorded fiscal space by its official creditors and bondholders,” he added.

He explained that President Hichilema first needed to address the debt burden imposed by former President Edgar Lungu and his associates before embarking on accelerated developmental programs.

As elaborated by the hardworking Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane, Imenda explained, the UPND shall now focus on ramping up productivity, achieving food security, collecting sufficient taxes to fund our social budget, and increasing both local and foreign investments.

He expressed the view that the hate and prejudice against the UPND government will not help those political detractors who do not have the best interests of the citizens at heart.

“These opposition leaders are on record doubting the success of debt restructuring, and now they are deliberately trying to mislead their followers,” he pointed out.

He suggested that Lungu and his allies in the United Kwacha Alliance are manipulating the narrative that debt restructuring will not benefit the citizens.

“It’s shameful that those who aspire to lead the country are bent on causing further destruction, condemning the majority of citizens to excruciating poverty and misery,” he lamented.

“President Hakainde Hichilema and his team are working extremely hard to develop this country,” he asserted.

He mentioned that there are individuals shamelessly claiming that they initiated the process and are now eager to take credit. They did enough damage to the country, and all we ask is for them to observe as we apply resolute and beneficial economics.

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