Lunte PF member of parliament Mutotwe Kafwaya says job creation is not a preserve of government but all actors in the economy must participate.
And Kalomo Central UPND member of parliament Harry Kamboni says senseless borrowing does not stimulate the economy.
Speaking during the 2018 budget debates in Parliament on Tuesday, Kafwaya said all players in the economy had to participate in job creation for the country to meet its targets.
“Mr Speaker, the minister wants to spend 71 billion which is higher than 64 billion. There is no argument that this budget is an increase from last year. This country needs jobs. We need to stimulate our economy so that it is able to produce the jobs that are needed in Lunte and all over the country. And when I looked at this budget, its just less than 25 percent of our GDP and the economy. Which means that it is not my expectation to see all the jobs that will need to come from this budget. Because it’s a small proportion of our economy. I have heard a lot of misunderstandings where people are questioning the ability of this budget to produce jobs. It is my submission Mr Speaker that the jobs which we want are going to be produced by all players in the economy including government. As we talk about job creation, we need to attribute some of the jobs to government and to NGO’s who are also participating in the economy,” Kafwaya said.
He said there was need to build industries in order to strengthen the economy.
“Mr Speaker, for these jobs to be sustainable, we have to develop the industries which are able to remain afloat even when the mining sector is not doing well. This is why we are seen farming blocks in Copperbelt, Central Province and Northern Province. I would like the Minister of Finance to consider actualizing these farming blocks. When we do, we will be able to build industries which are needed to promote industrialisation. Because when we do so, we will promote export diversification. We must clearly understand that it is not government that must provide all jobs that you want it’s the private sector and all players in the economy,” said Kafwaya.
“Because all players, when we exclude government, amounts to 75 percent of our economy. So if this private sector is going to contribute adequately to job creation, government must make sure to provide an enabled environment to attract foreigners with investments so that we stimulate economy activities. This budget is progressive and I state Mr Speaker that light and darkest cannot mix, ignorance and knowledge are not complimentary but antagonistic. Therefore interpretation of numbers and qualitative issues contained in the budget are based on understanding.”
And Kamboni said a country could not be run on borrowing.
“Over borrowing to a level where it becomes senseless cannot stimulate an economy. What stimulates an economy is proper planning and putting money to the right cause. If you over borrow to the level where it becomes senseless, that borrowing will eat you up. Mr Speaker, money will never be enough. You cannot have all the money that you need. What is important is how you plan and use the money. Our borrowing levels are very alarming and something must be done. We cannot run an economy based on borrowing, borrowing and nothing else. Because the purpose of government is to make profits,” he said.
Kamboni said the budget must cover people’s needs instead of being used corruptly in the name of leadership and projects.
“Mr Speaker, the purpose of the budget is to provide for people’s needs. What is important is that the budget must cover all those people it covers. And the question is that, does this budget cover the people’s needs in Zambia? The answer is no. Mr Speaker, the budget must cover people’s needs and not where it is used to corruptly take money away from citizens in the name of leadership and projects, which is what the PF does. You must use the money you have budgeted for the way you have planned it. The budget was made in a special way, were many stakeholders are excluded. The framework of this budget must be looked into if this budget is to make sense,” he said.
Kamboni added that the budget was neither specific nor timely.
“This budget is lacking specifics. If we say ‘we are giving many billions to agriculture, we expect to create at least so many jobs’, it may not be too specific but it will be clear. The budget must have correctness and must be timely. If, in the case of E-vouchers, farmers plant in December and if the money is released in March, the budget loses its direction because that money will not buy the feed it was intended for. Time matters so much as we are budgeting, which is lacking in the 2018 budget,” said Kamboni.
“Sometimes I’m tempted to ask the minister [finance] that ‘have you put any allocation to corruption’ because corruption is taking a lot of our money in the budget. Let’s stop corruption by making the structures strong.”