United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema says a successful debt restructuring exercise rapidly executed and provides debt relief, is contingent on taking steps to immediately restore debt sustainability and rebuild the collapsed economy.

Mr Hichilema added that his will create confidence among creditors and citizens, who are the principal builders of the Zambian economy, and ultimately have to repay debt load in one form or another.

He said that any debt restructuring must be underwritten by strong political will to stay the course, and implement a sound economic program as a guarantee that the exercise will be of mutual benefit to both borrowers and lenders in the longer term.

The UPND leader’s comments, come in light of government’s recent awarding of a K90 million contract to Lazard Frerers for debt management advice, to which he said government should instead give the $5 million to youth and women empowerment programmes, as the debt can be restructured for free.

He stated that the offer for free advice to the Patriotic Front (PF) government on debt management and other economic management issues still stands, adding that free consultation will save the country’s meagre resources.

Mr Hichilema has since appealed to government, to stop unplanned and excessive borrowing, lest debt levels become unsustainable, noting the need to have a plan for the repayment of the enormous debt.

He said the sinking fund set for debt repayment needs to be adequately funded, further calling on the Ministry of Finance, to reign in commitments by line ministries that are not aligned with fiscal consolidation and undermine any efforts to attain internal coherency in debt management.

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