Zambian government seeks $1 billion in debt service relief

Zambia’s government says that the nation is on the verge of receiving $1 billion in debt service relief should all its requests to official and commercial creditors be granted.

The country’s Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu revealed in a presentation to creditors that Zambia has made formal requests that aim to wipe out its debt.

“We have engaged systematically with our official creditors for debt service suspension as well as our commercial creditors to seek similar debt service treatment, including the rescheduling of past due arrears accumulated throughout the year,” Ng’andu told creditors in a webcast.

The copper producing nation has been grappling with growing public debt which has raised eyebrows among financial analysts and citizens alike. Much of the debt began piling under current President Edgar Lungu’s regime even before the coronavirus pandemic kicked in.

The Finance Minister further added that should all debt service suspensions be granted and include arrears; the relief will amount to $81 million under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and to $897 million on commercial claims.

The relief is a major boost to the country’s economy that is heavily reliant on copper exports which have fallen due to low demand during the pandemic.

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