Musokotwane says govt plans to settle Mopani debt from K41.9 billion supplementary budget


Government says it plans to use part of the funds in the K41.9 billion supplementary budget to settle the debt owed to Glencore, the former owners of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM).

While the main matter for the supplementary budget was to deal with the effects of drought in Zambia, it would also be used to fund the hanging debt.

This is according to the Finance and National Planning Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, during ZNBC’s Sunday Interview.

In 2020, government nationalised MCM by acquiring 90 percent of the shares at US$1.5 billion through an off-take with Glencore.

During the interview, Musokotwane outlined other sectors that would require support from the K41.9 billion supplementary budgets, including the MCM deal. He recalled that when Glencore left, the firm had requested for US$1.5 billion.

Read more: Finance Minister, Musokotwane, presents K41.9 billion revised budget, as govt targets most vulnerable

“When Glencore left, they had asked the Zambian government to pay US$1.5 billion for leaving the mine, the money which this Government didn’t have and does not have and therefore, it could not complete the transaction.

“And in any case, if we had to pay this US$1.5 billion, then it means we will not be able to make the mine viable. So, we took advantage of the supplementary budget to deal with the drought and to deal with hanging debt left behind,” Musokotwane said.

He said in terms of debt, Government was also dealing with the debt restructuring programme which was started two years ago.

Musokotwane also cited Zesco Limited debt, which was acquired some time ago, as some of the issues which had to be dealt with using the supplementary budget. He said the power utility’s debt had made it difficult for it to import power.

He said Zesco was lent about K30 million to service their debt. “Zesco imported some power in Mozambique in 2015 and did not fully settle the bill.

Zesco tried to import power again from Mozambique but they refused because Government still owes them money from power bought in 2025,” Musokotwane said.

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