Public Debt Management Bill  will help in the economic recovery once approved – Chikuba

Ministry of Finance and National Planning  says it is confident that the legal reforms in Public Debt Management once approved by Parliament will help economic recovery in the country.

Ministry of Finance and National Planning Permanent Secretary Mukuli Chikuba explains that one of the major economic reforms is the Public Debt Management Bill which has been taken to Parliament for consideration.

Speaking  during a media engagement workshop on Economic management at Sandy’s Creation in Lusaka,  Mr. Chikuba noted that the said Bill once enacted will provide a provision for Parliament to approve every loan acquired for the public sector.

“If you are the central government, parastatal or council and quasi-government, they will be no borrowing externally without the approval of Parliament.

“ The legislation also mandates the ministry of finance to publish very specific information on debt and also present it to Parliament,” explained Mr. Chikuba.

The Bill which has reached its first reading in the First Session of the 13th  National Assembly seeks to provide for the raising of loans and grants;  the issuing of guarantees; and  the approval of loans by the National Assembly.

Other issues the Bill will tackle include the  issuing of loans by, or on behalf of the Government;  the establishment of sinking funds; the establishment of the Debt Management Office and provide for its functions; the repeal of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, 1969, and the General Loan and Stock Act, 1931; and matters connected, or incidental to, the foregoing.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance and National Planning Assistant Director-Budget Officer Percy Musonda in his presentation indicated that the treasury will  continue to implement government programs in line with the 2022 national budget.

“  Priority will also be given to social spending programmes including drugs and medical supplies and dismantling of arrears in  order to unlock liquidity in the economy.

Further government remains hopeful that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme will be approved by the board,” he said.

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