Economist Dr Lubinda Haabazoka says government’s decision to sell Indeni will not benefit Zambians but will instead create jobs opportunities in other countries.
And Dr Haabazoka says it was a myth for Energy Minister David Mabumba to assure the more 300 workers of the oil company that they would have their jobs even after the ownership of Indeni was changed, saying government would not have any powers over the investor.
Speaking to News Diggers! in an Interview, Dr Haabazoka recalled that privitasation of companies had never been a success story in Zambia because private capital that lacked social or moral obligation to the nation destroyed the country’s economy.
“Well, I think that there is a very good reason why Indeni was formed and that was basically to give us a new way to produce a wider range of petroleum products that the country needs to consume. The problem with the importation of finished products is that we are going to be creating jobs in other countries and also because of the middlemen that are involved, we are going to get a raw deal if at all something goes wrong. So importation of finished products should only be done to supplement the efforts of Indeni especially in times of closures,” Dr Haabazoka said.
“The other problem with privatization in Zambia is that there has never been any success story because there is no company that has been privatised and has performed in accordance with the expectations. So in my opinion, it is advisable for government not to privatise Indeni because what is going to happen is that we are going to see a situation where the new owners, they can either move all the scrap and move Indeni somewhere else where they wish because that won’t be our property anymore.”
“It is not advisable for them to privatise such a strategic company like Indeni for security reasons and we need oil, we need fuel and we need Zambians to own that company for security reasons, its a very strategic company. Actually in most countries it would be a secret site where not everyone was going be allowed to see. So we should not allow private capital in this company.”
Asked if the sale of Indeni would benefit Zambians in some way, Dr Haabazoka said there was nothing for Zambians to benefit at all.
“Basically, the only people who know the reasons why Indeni must be sold is government themselves but there is totally no benefit of floating Indeni because even in the UK and the USA, you have government owned companies, there is no country in the world that is purely captured and the State does not own anything. You find that even the major companies in the developed world are owned by government because as government there are just things you need to control by yourselves and oil is very strategic. Indeni can’t be sold to private monopoly capital that has destroying the Zambian economy by just fulfilling its interest without any social or moral obligation to the nation,” said Dr Haabazoka.
“Government cannot guarantee anything once another person or a partner starts owning the company because it wont be government property anymore. You can’t come and tell a person how they are going to be leaving in their own house, so its a myth for government to say there won’t be any job loses once Indeni is sold.”