They further say that debts to multilateral institutions are not included in the debt restructuring under the Common Framework.
Further, the faith and civil society leaders say Zambia has accrued interest rates averaging 6.1 percent to external private lenders, 3.1 percent to China, 4.8 to other governments, and 1percent to multilateral institutions.
The CSO Debt Alliance officials say, "Approximately two-thirds of the external debt owed to private lenders and other governments, as well as all interest payments, must be cancelled, if sustainability is to be achieved."
They call on the Zambian government to speed up the process of engaging creditors "so that a committee of lenders can be formed and provide financing assurances so that the process can move forward to the IMF's Executive Board."
The CSO Debt Alliance officials further urge the government to conclude its agreement with the IMF and make progress "towards securing an arrangement for a treatment under the G20 common framework."
(Story continues below)
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Beyond engaging the IMF, The CSO Debt Alliance officials ask the Zambian government to "develop a more aggressive plan to stimulate a private sector-led economic growth."
"Within the framework of the expected debt management strategy, the Government should maintain a healthy Zambia/China relationship as the Chinese remain strategic partners with whom we hold a huge debt stock," they say.
In addressing Zambia’s debt management issues, the faith and civil leaders ask the government to adopt a consultative and participatory approach by including key stakeholders such as CSOs.
Debt management "should not be a preserve of the government and creditors only," the CSO Debt Alliance officials say, adding that it is important for Zambia "to clean its house."
"This is especially with regards to the debt legislative framework, institutional strengthening and systems that will ensure that the nation does not return to unsustainable debt levels," they say in their February 4 statement.
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.