Zambia to save US$500m in HIPC savings

Minister of Finance and National Planning, Ng’andu Magande, told Parliament this week that government expected to use about US$ 181 million this year from the HIPC savings while another US$ 185 million was projected next year.

Magande, who was answering questions from Mambilima member of parliament Patrick Kalifungwa (MMD), said in 2008 the expected usage of the funds from the HIPC savings was about US$185.9 million.

Kalifungwa wanted to know what was the projected usage of the HIPC savings in the next five years and how much of the funds accrued as of December 31, last year.

The Mambilima MP also wanted to find out how the funds were utilised as at December 31, last year.

In response, Magande said beyond 2008, government was still compiling the savings to be made.

He said the government would compile and table how much would be saved by the year 2035.

He explained that all the savings would be used on poverty reduction programmes in all sectors with the guidelines of the Fifth National Development Plan which was still being developed.

Magande explained that since reaching HIPC completion point, over US$ 800 million has accrued as relief as at December 31, last year.

He said in 2001 government got HIPC relief of about US$ 193 million, in 2002 about US$184 million while in 2003 an amount of about US$ 174.9 million was obtained as relief.

Magande further said in 2004 government got HIPC relief of about US$ 157.1 million and in 2005 it got about US$ 139 million.

The Minister stated that all the relief was utilised in poverty reduction programmes and projects in all the sectors.

Other projects that have benefited from the HIPC savings are rehabilitation of feeder roads, the Health sector and energy and water development.

Magande said all the funds from the HIPC savings would be monitored and evaluated according to the agreement.

Meanwhile, Magande told the House that there had been about 23 credit facilities to the business community since 1987.

He said the credit facilities benefits both local and foreign business persons doing business in Zambia.

Magande said this in response to questions from Kalifungwa who wanted to know what foreign credit facilities were available to the business community as at December 31, last year.

Kalifungwa also wanted to know among other things how the facilities are accessed and what conditionalities and interest rates and how long the facilities have been available.

The Minister said as government it did not discriminate when it came to giving the credit facilities.

Magande said most facilities were in tourism and the agricultural sectors. ‘ Zambia Daily Mail.

June 2006
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