And Siliya says people complaining about too many taxes are confusing taxes with user charges which are optional.
Meanwhile Siliya said that government programs cannot come to a standstill just because there is talk about national dialogue.
Featuring on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview. Siliya said Zambia’s debt threshold was within manageable levels.
“Our debt to GDP ratio is at 53.1% which is below the standard 60%. There are countries whose debt to GDP ratio goes beyond 100%. There is no country in the world which manages without debt,” she said.
Siliya said the Minister of Finance was continuously engaging stakeholders like the International Monetary Fund on the debt situation.
She said that the relationship with the IMF was normal as government was talking to the international lending institution.
“When we borrow it is because we want to invest, the fact that fact that we are at 53.1% means that we still have a lot of headroom to borrow,” she said.
“There is no debt crisis and the economy continues to move. We are anticipating that at a certain time in future we will have to make payments.”
She also lamented the damaging comments to the international press by some opposition political parties.
Siliya said the complaints about taxes like the borehole, internet and television levy was ill-founded.
“What people are calling taxes are user charges which are optional, People cannot indiscriminately build boreholes without safety measures. What happens when a person drills a borehole with contaminated water, it is government that will take the blame,” she said.
On the contentious loan repayment by former University of Zambia (UNZA) students, Siliya said the plan had been discussed over a period of many years.
“These discussions have been going on for a long time, the Minister of Higher Education has made several statements on the matter,” she said.
Siliya said government needed to recover the money so that it could be reinvested in educating more students.
On dialogue, Siliya said the process would go on but government would not be side tracked by talk of dialogue.
“This process will continue, but I do not think that government will be side tracked, stakeholders will continue talking,” she said.