Chilubi member of parliament Rosaria Fundanga says Zambia cannot develop without borrowing.
But Chirundu UPND member of parliament says the 2018 budget has favoured areas where corruption is endemic.
Meanwhile, Nalikwanda UPND member of parliament Geoffrey Lungwangwa says allocation to Constituency Development Fund must be increased as it is vital to rural development.
Speaking when she debated the 2018 national budget in Parliament yesterday, Fundanga said if developed countries like the United States could borrow from China to keep the economy stable, Zambia needed to be encouraged to do the same, but use resources amicably.
Fundanga who is wife to the former Bank of Zambia governor Caleb, was speaking yesterday in Parliament during her debate on the 2018 budget.
“Borrowing is welcome as no country can develop without borrowing whether internally or externally. I know that the finance minister emphasised that we should slow down on borrowing but I think that it is important if we can borrow and utilise the resources amicably and prudently,” Fundanga said.
“What is important is for the country to ensure that it borrows responsibly. It could help our economy. Even developed countries like the USA borrow both internally and externally. If anything America owes China a lot of money. If America can return the credit they have with China, I think the American economy could collapse.”
And Fundanga said the tourism sector needed extra funding in order to contribute more significantly to government revenue.
“Mr Speaker, the tourism sector, if well harnessed has the potential to bring the much needed revenue to the government. Therefore, in order to fully benefit from tourism, areas such as tourism infrastructure development, marketing, product development, training and research need to be well funded. The government, as announced, should prioritise construction of major roads, bridges as well as airstrips leading to tourism destinations,” she said
Fundanga applauded governments intentions to boost the agriculture sector.
“Mr Speaker, I welcome the governments intentions to boost the agricultural production to diversify the economy. I support the proposed initiatives such as facilitation by the government for mechanisation in agricultural crop production, raising farmer productivity as well as diversification of the agricultural sector. And also the development of the farm block model which will allow small holder farmers to access modern technology and market for their products,” said Fundanga.
But Syakalima says that poverty will never end in Zambia because the 2018 budget favoured areas where corruption was endemic.
“Our people are suffering because of corruption. This generation is a very greedy generation. And if we do not come to terms with ourselves we shall live as a generation which was corrupt and greedy. You can see in the budget that more money has been put to areas were corruption is endemic. In roads…in what, which are not accountable,” Syakalima said.
“We must stop corruption. We can not have a system were everybody does what they want to do. Other things that we have seen recently are not even corruption but theft. When people stop hiding and just show you that this is now theft, is dangerous. It is impunity. You are not even afraid that society is watching. What sort of human beings are you?”
He was however stopped by the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini who wanted to know who the ‘you’ was.
“Who ever! Those who are corrupt. So if you are corrupt, stop. This country is crying today because of corruption and if we are not careful we shall crush down before we even take off as a country. Probably we have already done that. My prayer is to see this country go back where it came from,” said Syakalima .
Meanwhile, Prof Lungwangwa asked government to increase CDF.
“Raise that CDF to a figure where we as members of parliament especially from rural areas can use the provisions to transform the areas. That is in line with equity and growth in national happiness. If you are able to raise the CDF and release it on time, together we can make a difference. Minister, convince your colleagues in cabinet that ‘let us raise that CDF’,” he said.
Lungwangwa also urged the Finance Minister to reflect on the five Ps (power, people, poverty, prosperity and peace).
“I request the honourable Minister of Finance to reflect on the five Ps. Which is; when you have an opportunity to exercise power, it is for the benefit of the people. In our case, its to take people out of poverty to prosperity but in peace. Politics is about dreams these dreams must be translated into reality for the good of everybody and if we do that we can make Zambia a better country,” said Prof Lungwangwa.