Zambia's State power utility Zesco had a total debt of $3.5-billion as at September 2021, Energy Minister Peter Kapala told parliament on Friday.
He added that Zesco had made $400-million in loses between 2018 and 2019 owing to the depreciation of the local Kwacha currency.
Zesco reported its own debt as 30-billion kwacha ($1.78-billion in today's exchange rate) in 2019, raising the question of where the extra debt comes from and who holds it.
Earlier this month Zambian finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said Zambia's external public debt had grown uncontrollably over the past decade to almost $15-billion by June this year.
Of that, about $2-billion was parastatal debt.
President Hakainde Hichilema won a landslide election victory in August, beating incumbent Edgar Lungu, but his cabinet has since then been primarily pre-occupied with bringing the country's massive debts to light so that it can get IMF emergency relief.
Zambia plans to implement polices aimed at making its debt sustainable and talks with the International Monetary Fund -- a test case of Western multilateral efforts to make the debt of developing countries more transparent -- are moving quickly.
Kapala said disputed invocies and the inability of some mining companies to pay bills had resulted in these entities owing a combined $887-million as at August 2021.