January 18, 2004

"Debt burden has hampered development", says Finance Minister

Zambia's huge foreign debt burden has hampered the country's steady stride towards economic development, as finance minister Peter Magande has revealed. At a signing ceremony of US $10 million credit line given to Zambia by the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India, Magande said the debt burden had also eroded the respectable social and economic standing of the Zambian people. He said Zambia would remain committed towards reaching the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point as soon as possible so that the economy could be debt sustainable. In line with the HIPC initiative, the Indian government also wrote off 100 per cent of the bilateral debt and 50 per cent of the commercial credit outstanding, both totalling about US $11.1 million. According to Magande the gesture was evidence of the two countries' co-operation, which covers the agriculture, health, commerce, trade and education fields. (The Post, Lusaka)

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