By REBECCA MUSHOTA
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s trip to China yesterday may be the most economically beneficial trip for Zambia in the history of the two nations, his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos
Chanda has said.
Mr Chanda said that Zambians should be confident of that.
He said the President Lungu’s trip would facilitate for many development agreements between Zambia and China as well as between the private sectors of the two countries.
President Lungu yesterday travelled to China for bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other engagements.
The aircraft carrying him left the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka at around 17:34 hours for China and was accompanied by Mr Chanda, Project Monitoring and Implementation, Andrew Chella, Political Affairs advisor, Kaizar Zulu, Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe and State House legal counsel Sukwana Lukangaba.
Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, other ministers and technocrats left earlier for bilateral meetings between Zambia and China and the Forum for Africa China Corporation (FOCAC).
Speaking to journalists earlier yesterday, Mr Chanda said according to the advance notes posted by the advance delegation, it was clear that there would be major agreements signed between the two countries.
“I can confirm that this is a very remarkable tour, probably the biggest that any Zambian president has made to China. It is the biggest in terms of the number of agreements between Zambia
and China and the private sector in Zambia and China as well as in value,” Mr Chanda said.
He said the trip was mainly to increase economic corporation and debt restructuring as well as any other opportunity best suited for Zambia.
Mr Chanda said Ms Mwanakatwe had not made a specific request for balance of payment support from China but if the matter was agreed on, Zambia would go for China’s support.
He said that Zambia continued to engage the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on budget support but the Ministry of Finance was open to other avenues available.
Mr Chanda said Zambia was, however, not facing a debt crisis because as described by the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ), a crisis was when a country recorded negative growth in two quarters of the year.
He said technocrats went to China in advance to discuss the debt restructuring and the ministers would now ensure that what the technocrats had agreed on was in line with the Government’s aspirations.
A number of people from the private sector have travelled at their own cost to take advantage of the President’s trip to meet their Chinese counterparts.
Mr Lungu would also tour mining companies in Jiangxi Province and witness the twinning agreement between Jiangxi Province and Muchinga Province on technology transfer.
Meanwhile, Mr Chanda said there was no need for Zambians to be concerned over the relations between Zambia and the United States following the handing over of Zimbabwean opposition leader Tendai Biti to his country.
He said the American Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote discussed the issue with President Lungu last week.
Mr Chanda said Government would not discuss the social media reports that Democratic Republic of Zambia (DRC) opposition leader Moise Katumbi had a Zambian diplomatic passport because it was undiplomatic to discuss.
On the recalling of the IMF representative to Zambia Alfredo Baldini, Mr Chanda said the replacement would be sent soon.
And Mr Chanda said that President Lungu had directed the ministries of Mines and Energy to quickly facilitate a meeting between Copperbelt Energy Company (CEC) and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) over pending power restrictions on the mine due to unpaid bills.
Mr Lungu said the mining sector was sensitive in Zambia and all the decisions that were made should be done with the best interest of the country and the workers.
The CEC is yet to effect power restrictions to KCM owing to unpaid invoices equivalent to three months by KCM.
Mr Lungu said through Mr Chanda that a decision should be reached which would be in the best interest of the nation.
“That is how far State House can go because CEC is a private company and the President respects independent operations of private companies,” Mr Chanda said.