Over the holidays, there was an announcement of yet another debt deal without any parliamentary oversight. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that India has given Zambia a credit of US$50 million to finance the reconstruction of pre-fabricated health centres in all the provinces. The credit facility will be repaid over 20 years at an interest rate of 1.75 percent. According Former Minister Kambwili this is part of the PF government intention to "ensure that there is reliable infrastructure as opposed to the former government’s now disused mobile hospitals".
The Daily Mail observes that "minister could not immediately indicate the number of the pre-fabricated health centres to be procured". In other words, its appears to be yet another case of accumulating debt without a clear assessment or planning. The idea may be noble, but going into debt without clear facts to hand does not seem like a good way to manage public debt. A larger problem of course is that Parliament continues to be sidelined because no clear debt management strategy exists. There should be a halt to debt procurement until that is resolved - not least because Zambia has not fully capitalised on leveraging domestic sources of revenue.