Friday, December 12, 2008

Unsettled $24m loan hinders ZCMT talks

Unsettled $24m loan hinders ZCMT talks
Written by Gillian Namungala
Friday, December 12, 2008 4:13:46 AM

DEFENCE minister George Mpombo has said the US $24 million loan owed to a Chinese bank by the Zambian government is the contentious issue in current negotiations between the two parties.

Zambia-China Mulungushi Textile (ZCMT), a joint venture between the Zambian and the Chinese government, acquired a loan amounting to US $24 million using the Zambian government as a guarantor from Exim – a Chinese bank – through the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ).

In an interview, Mpombo said the issue of the loan was the main factor in addressing problems at ZCMT.

“That is why we had to engage in discussions as government to government,” Mpombo said. “The board of ZCMT has failed to come up with solutions to solve problems facing ZCMT, that is why we decided to have discussions between the two governments.”

Mpombo however said he was concerned with the slow pace at which discussions were taking place.

“These discussions have been dragging for too long. That is why we decided to take this route of engaging the government to resolve issues at ZCMT,” said Mpombo.

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