THE government is hiding a US$192 million loan it contracted from China to improve state security. According to Ministry of Finance sources, Alexander Chikwanda recommended that government contracts two loans; US$14 million to improve water and sanitation in Western Province, and over US$192 million to improve security wings in the country.
After Cabinet approved the acquisition of the two loans on April 27, 2015, State House announced the contraction of the US$14 million and hid the bigger loan that was approved at the same meeting. “Cabinet has approved contraction of a low interest concessional loan of US$14 million from OPEC Fund for International Development to improve water and sanitation in 100 villages in all the 16 districts of Western Province. The loan will attract an interest of 1.75 per cent. Cabinet noted that rural water supply and sanitation is critically essential in the improvement of people’s health,” a State House statement quoting Cabinet’s decisions read in part.
But sources at the Ministry of Finance have disclosed that Cabinet withheld information on the acquisition of the larger loan that was approved the same day. According to a letter received by Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba from Secretary to Cabinet Dr Rowland Msiska, the government has contracted a US$192, 924 loan from Poly Technologies Incorporated of China. “Cabinet at its 8th meeting held on April 27, 2015 accepted the recommendation by your minister that approval be given to the contraction of a loan from Poly Technologies Incorporated of China amounting to US$192,924,047 to support the implementation of the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of security equipment for Zambia Police Service, Immigration Department, Prisons Service and the Drug Enforcement Commission,” read Msiska’s letter dated April 28. “You are required to acknowledge receipt of this conveyance and indicate the course of action to be taken, including the instructions issued to the officials who will be directly responsible for the implementation of the above decision. You are also required to expedite implementation of the above decision of Cabinet.” The sources wondered why State House did not announce the US$192 million loan. “You people reported on the US$14 million loan, but you left out the big one that was also approved on the same day. They are getting loans to improve the security at prisons yet on Labour Day, they were telling us that there is no money to increase our salaries.
How can they put this wage freeze and ignore the problems facing the civil servants but at the same time getting huge loans for priority areas such as security at Immigration? What security?” the sources wondered. “If you remember, the Honourable minister [Chikwanda] has been saying there is nothing wrong in getting loans for productivity and income generating sectors, but how will the security at DEC return the US$192 million that this government has borrowed on behalf of the Zambian people?”
Last week when State House announced the acquisition of the US$14 million loan, ADD president Charles Milupi said it was ridiculous for President Edgar Lungu’s Cabinet to fool the people of Western Province that it would spend US$14 million to provide water to 100 villages. “I am a headman and I can speak as an expert on this matter. When I was sinking a borehole for my village, I spent an equivalent of US$3,500, that included drilling, a hand pump, transportation and all. Now, when you do your arithmetic properly, you will find that this government is promising to drill 4,000 boreholes in each of the 100 villages. That’s absolutely ridiculous!” exclaimed Milupi. And former energy permanent secretary Peter Mumba urged Zambians to watch the PF and make sure they do not divert part of the loans towards campaigns. “We must be careful to see that this money does not go to the PF for elections. That money is public money; it is not for the PF, so the public has the right to know. And a borehole today costs only K12,000; US$14million is a lot of money. We need to know whether it’s going to be piped water or for animals. We appreciate efforts government is making in terms of water and sanitation, but they need to explain if it is just boreholes or piped water because it is not clear,” said Mumba. – See more at: http://www.postzambia.com/news.php?id=7902#sthash.E6XN5zSI.dpuf