Friday, October 19, 2007

Lubinda calls for involvement of stakeholders in debt management

Lubinda calls for involvement of stakeholders in debt management
By Joan Chirwa
Friday October 19, 2007 [04:00]

PARLIAMENTARIANS in developing countries should search for innovative ways of making debt work for the poor, Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda has said. Presenting a paper on Zambia’s challenge on debt management during the Jubilee prayer breakfast in Washington on Tuesday, Lubinda said Zambia, like many other developing countries, was still grappling with high levels of poverty despite the amounts of debt contracted in the previous years, hence the need for the involvement of all stakeholders in debt management.

“The bitter experiences of one billion people in the world living under one US dollar per day, where every three seconds a child dies from extreme poverty, and where 12 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Africa, must give us parliamentarians the impetus to search for innovative ways of making debt work for the poor,” Lubinda said.

“We must be compelled to eradicate those conditions that make debt hurt the ones it is meant to serve. Zambia can well demonstrate that debt relief can reach the poor.”

Members of the United States Congress have sponsored a Jubilee Act that calls for responsible lending and expanded debt cancellation in order to assist poor countries in the management of debt acquired from developed nations.

“For the noble intentions of the Jubilee Act to have meaningful effect, the other side of the equation ought to be put right and the Zambian Parliament is cognizant of the fact that our country too has to engage in responsible borrowing and responsible utilization of borrowed and own resources,” Lubinda said.

The Zambian Parliament over the last few years has been working on reforming the legal framework governing not only loan contraction processes, but also the management of the budget cycle.

Lubinda said it would be difficult for Zambia to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) if any debt acquired does not benefit the poor.

“I appeal to all parliamentarians globally to exert pressure on our governments to deliver on the United Nations MDGs,” said Lubinda.

“I appeal to the people of America to insist that the government of the United States of America takes the leading role in delivering on MDG number eight which calls for building a global partnership for development, addressing the needs of least developed countries, developing an open trading and financial system and dealing comprehensively with the debt of developing countries.”

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