By OLIVER SAMBOKO and ADRIAN MWANZA
CONTINUED lies by the UPND government on the country’s external debt and other national issues will erode investor confidence in the economy, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has warned.
And Green Party (GP) President Peter Sinkamba has charged that the inconsistent statements being issued by the minister of Finance has the potential to mislead people and paint a negative picture in the eyes of the international community.
On Tuesday, Finance and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane informed Parliament that the country’s external debt stands at $12.9 billion contrary to the figure given by President Hakainde Hichilema of over $20 billion.
Mr Sinkamba said the lies by the UPND were now creating annoyance among not only Zambians but also the investors and the international community.
He said the misinformation being peddled should be stopped because it had the potential to give a wrong impression to investors and lenders which would result in the country being considered as not organised.
“We wonder why the UPND has been feeding the public and the international community lies that the PF left over $20 billion debt when the fact is that the debt is as the PF government indicated in the 2021 national budget,” said Mr Sinkamba.
Mr Sinkamba said it was clear from the statement by the Finance Minister in parliament that the external debt is neither $37 billion nor $20 billion as alleged by the UPND, but $12.91 billion contracted by Government and $1.57 billion corporate guarantee.
He also demanded that the government should clear the air and inform the nation how much was paid for the presidential jet to stop the speculation on its true value.
Mr Sinkamba also challenged the government to prove its claim that the previous administration created a secret bank account at the Ministry of Finance.
And YALI president Andrew Ntewewe said that the UPND ought to know that they were in the driving seat and needed to be consistent with the information they gave the public.
He said a case in point was the issue of the debt which the country had accrued and that there were claims that the PF were hiding some of the debt.
Mr Ntewewe said it was not just Zambians who were watching but also the international community and that they were sending a wrong signal.
“I think they are supposed to carry out proper research before issuing statements because they are not correlating with reality,” he said.