By ALICE NACHILEMBE
The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) has demanded Government to come out clean on the debt refinancing arrangement.
CTPD Head of Research Boyd Muleya said such pronouncements have the potential to affect the spending pattern of civil servants in the hope that they will completely be free.
Mr Muleya said Government should not claim hero over the matter of the debt swap because the unpaid allowances and other benefits to civil servants have also been greatly contributing to civil servants’ indebtedness and hardships over the period.
He said government should also releases statistics on the number of civil servants that are indebted for them to institute debt swap.
Mr Muleya said they should also clearly state the measure of vulnerability that was applied to determine the extent of this problem against other pressing needs in the economy.
“Debt swap is at the expense of procurement of medical equipment, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, medicines, PPE, and allowances to COVID-19 frontline workers,’ he said.
He said the bailout plan is questionable as the center is reliably aware that government will be using outstanding allowances and perks owed to debt-ridden public service workers to net off debts.
Mr Muleya said the approach to be selective as it lacks the merit of equitability, because there are several Zambian individuals, employed in the private sector or on self-employment, that have debt obligations to financial institutions, and they deserve to be helped as well.
“CTPD is of the view that the supposedly bailout plan predominantly has a non-financial benefit to civil servants, instead it is a short-term arrangement of convenience,” he said.