UPP president Saviour Chishimba says it is an insult for President Edgar Lungu to give K250 and K500 loans to marketers when they could get more than K10,000 each if he suspended his international trips.

Yesterday, Presidential Empowerment Fund patron Chanda Kabwe gave K250 and K500 loans to 200 recently gutted Kapalala market traders in Ndola.

“Today we have targeted 200 marketeers to benefit from this fund. We are giving K250 and K500 to marketers today. This is especially to those marketeers who were affected. So we expect the marketeers to pay back. This loan is coming from the contributions of President Edgar Lungu to empower the marketeers,” said Kabwe.

But in an interview today, Chishimba said each marketeer needed at least K10, 000 to reconstruct their lives.

“If truly the so called Presidential Empowerment Fund from Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu is that each marketeer at Kapalala [market] has been empowered with K250 to K500, that is an insult to the dignity of marketeers. It is a total illustration of the wickedness of the entire PF regime. Those marketeers, each of them must be given a minimum of K10,000 in order for them to reconstruct their lives because they will need capital. That’s what will help them to reconstruct their lives,” Chishimba said.

“That money must not come from the so called useless presidential empowerment fund for marketeers which according to him is coming from his pockets. Let him cut down the trips because it is pointless, you say you are giving 50 percent of your pay to marketeers and then the next morning you take from the confers of the state one million times. Just one trip can go up to more K10 million. That K10 million if he suspends one trip, we urge this comrade to suspend one trip and the money give it to marketeers, I can assure you, you will find that each marketeer will get more than K10, 000. Just one trip. Marketeers do not need Mr Lungu’s money. They don’t need it. The marketeers need money from the Treasury and not from Mr Lungu’s pocket. He announced that he would be getting half of his presidential salary so that the other half can go to the Presidential Marketeers Empowerment program, which is a sham. When you look at the President’s salary, it is far much less than the kind of allowances that he gets. He gets huge amounts of money in aimless travels.”

He said whilst President Lungu and his aides were wasting tax payers money on international trips, marketers had real problems which could not be sorted by K250.

“So marketeers don’t need favours from anyone. What they need is what they are entitled to because that K500 or K250 is not even 20 percent of a daily sitting allowance of the President and his aides as they are moving about aimlessly, as they are globetrotting. And that’s the amount of money you go and give marketeers? Those marketeers have families and at the same time paying market levies every day so that amount of money will go back to the same people through the market levy,” he said.

“Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has made a record in African as the most traveled President in Africa ever since Africa was born. That is the record he has made so far. Just to go and attend an ordinary inauguration of a President, you must travel? Why can’t we learn from John Magufuli of Tanzania? That man upon suspending all Presidential trips, he has managed over just one year, that was last year, to create 1,457 new industries in Tanzania and these industries have created jobs for the people of Tanzania.”

And Chishimba claimed he had evidence of how Presidential Initiative Fund Administrators were abusing marketeers.

“We have overwhelming evidence to the effect that under that same initiative, the administrators who are appointed, I think one of them is now a permanent secretary somewhere in Central Province and many others who are part of it, they are presided over a corrupt kind of system where many marketeers are actually abused. The abuse is that sometimes they are asked to contribute to be part of the committee and it is only those who pay membership fee who can qualify for membership. I have a dossier on how these marketeers are being reaped off by the so called Presidential Empowerment Funds for marketeers,” said Chishimba.