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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Zambia ready to access US $1.3 billion
dollars interest free loan from IMF

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia is ready to access 1.3 billion U.S. dollars interest free financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from ongoing negotiations to help its economic recovery program, state media reported on Sunday.

A delegation from the IMF is in Zambia to hold talks with the government on a financing agreement, which is expected to be concluded in June. Initial talks commenced in March last year.

Minister of Finance Felix Mutati told the Zambia Daily Mail that the country needs half a billion U.S. dollars of external borrowing this year to meet the budget requirement in order to ensure smooth running of the economy.

He however said the country has come up with its own economic recovery program and that the IMF will not dictate anything, adding that there was no need for apprehension by stakeholders on the financing program.

The money, he said, was expected to maintain spending on priority social protection and infrastructure programs, a move that will enhance the country’s economic recovery program. 

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Zambia receives 3,382 asylum seekers: UNHCR

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The United Nations refugee agency said on Friday that it has registered more than 3,000 asylum seekers who have entered Zambia in the first two months of 2017.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the asylum seekers from neighboring countries were registered as of February 2017.

About 232 have since been taken for resettlement in refugee camps, it added in a statement.

Zambia has in recent months seen an influx of asylum seekers mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi fleeing from unrest.

The UNHCR is currently working with the Zambia Red Cross in assisting the authorities to enhance reception capacities for new arrivals.

According to the refugee agency, Zambia currently has a total of 56,051 persons-of-concern as of February 28.

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Zambia fines 5 foreign firms for illegal electronic communication services

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Zambia’s communication and technology regulator said on Friday that it has fined five foreign firms and the country’s power utility for illegally offering electronic communication services.

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology (ZICTA) said the five firms, international data transit operators, have been fined after investigations revealed that they were illegally offering electronic communication services to Internet Service Providers (IPSs) within the country using the power utility’s infrastructure.

Among the firms include PCCWL Global, Telecom Namibia Limited, Wananchi Telecom Limited (WTL), West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) and Gilat Satcom Global Communications, according to a statement released by the regulator.

According to the regulator, it was an offense for any firm or individual to operate an electronic communications network or provide an electronic communications service without obtaining a license.

The power utility has since been directed to cut access to the same unlicensed international data transit operators.

“It is important to note that companies engaging in such conducts deprive government of the much needed revenue as they do not pay tax since they are not registered entities in Zambia,” the regulator said.

The firms have since been advised to legalize and normalize their operations and follow laid down procedures.

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Zambian leader warns against indiscriminate issuance of land to foreigners

LUSAKA Zambia  (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Friday expressed concern over the indiscriminate issuance of land to foreigners, saying this threatens the heritage for the country’s future generation.

“Mr. Speaker, I am equally concerned about the way in which land is being sold to foreigners. At the rate we are selling our land to foreigners there is a potential for danger that we might end up with children who are landless,” Lungu said when he addressed parliament.

The Zambian leader expressed concern that land was being sold cheaply to foreigners, adding that this threatens the future of children who may end up as “squatters in their own country”.

Lungu said it was disheartening that the unpatriotic behavior of some citizens to cheaply sell land to foreigners has even affected traditional leaders who were exchanging land with cheap second-hand vehicles with impunity and sometimes disregarding existing settlements like graveyards and grazing sites for livestock.

The Zambian leader has since directed the minister in charge of land to come up with a new law and policy that will guarantee the sovereignty of the country’s land as a national heritage.

“The lack of patriotism regarding land management shames the selfless deeds of our forefathers who fought and died to ensure that we could fully be independent and be a sovereign state,” he added.

He has since warned that his government will not “sit idle” while the unpatriotic behavior of selling land cheaply to foreigners goes on and threatened to repossess any land that will be given out at the expense of national interest.

Lungu addressed parliament following an amendment to the country’s constitution which demands that he address the House twice in a year.

He first addressed lawmakers on September 2016 when he officially opened the new sessions.

However lawmakers from the main opposition party boycotted his address as the party has not recognized him as duly elected leader after last year’s disputed elections, the second time they are doing it having shunned the official opening.

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Zambian opposition seeks DRC apology for likening leader to fugitive

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) -- Youth wing of Zambia’s leading opposition on Friday gave the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a 48-hour ultimatum to apologize for likening the party’s leader to a fugitive.

On Thursday, the DRC embassy in Zambia issued a protest letter to the Zambian government expressing displeasure over the presence of former Katanga Province Governor Moise Katumbi at an Under 20 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match between Zambia and South Africa in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.

The embassy wondered why Zambia granted a visa to Katumbi who was facing charges before judicial authorities in the DRC.

It further asked how Zambian authorities would react if Hakainde Hichilema, leader of Zambia’s United Party for National Development (UPND), was received by high political authorities in DRC.

But the party’s youth wing has demanded an apology from the embassy for likening their leader to a fugitive.

“Therefore, the letter we are in receipt of and sent to State House by the Congolese embassy likening our president to a fugitive like they are calling Mr. Moise Katumbi and his presence in our country is detrimental and divisive,” Gilbert Liswaniso, spokesperson of the party’s young wing said in a statement.

He added that it was unprofessional for the DRC embassy to write a letter maligning citizens of a sovereign state.

Katumbi, who is currently in exile in Belgium and was a prudential hopeful in that country’s elections, was last year sentenced to 36 months in absentia.

             

 

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