The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says while it appreciates the projected ambitious macroeconomic indicators by the government for revenue and expenditure estimates for 2018, it is equally deeply concerned with the growing public debt.
CTPD Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo notes that Finance Minister Felix Mutati in his budget speech told the nation that Zambia’s total debt level is now at K114.9 billion, saying this is outstripping the total 2018 budget which stands at K71.6 billion representing 47% of GDP.
Mr. Mwaipopo says CTPD has also noted the jump in interest payment to 23.0% in the first half of 2017 compared to 6.7% in 2012.
He says the rate of contracting debt is what has skyrocketed the debt repayment and this has suffocated expenditure on critical social sectors such as education, health, and social protection that could uplift peoples’ livelihoods.
He notes that in 2017, government had exceeded the debt ceiling on domestic borrowing which crowded out private sector participation thereby worsening the vulnerability of the economy.
Mr. Mwaipopo has since appealed to Government to seriously consider slowing down on debt contraction and minimize wasteful expenditures in order help improve budget credibility and fiscal prudence.