The Consumer Unity Trust Society-CUTS- International has noted with concern that there has been inadequacies in the governance of public finances over the last decade that have contributed to the recent sovereign debt crisis in Zambia.
Speaking during a sensitization workshop on understanding public finance management and Parliament debt oversight in Zambia, Cuts International Board Member Sajeev Nair says while unfavorable macroeconomic factors have played a significant role in the debt situation, the embedded governance weaknesses cannot be underestimated in the accumulation of sovereign debt and the subsequent crisis.
Mr. Nair also notes that there is limited parliamentary oversight over the execution in loan contraction and the lack of quality data and information regarding public debt which continues to hinder efforts for transparency and accountability.
He says although government has made strides in tightening control on borrowing by enacting the public debt management act, there are still several constraints in parliamentarians performing their oversight function effectively including operational independence and limited capacity and knowledge around public debt management.
Mr. Nair says there is therefore need for parliamentarians to be provided with detailed information on the structure, debt sources and long term estimated effects of debt, conditions attached to credits and loans as well as technical skills to meaningfully participate in public debt conversation.