Solwezi West UPND member of parliament Teddy Kasonso says 2018 will be a difficult year for the country because government has no money as a result of not closing a bail out deal with the IMF.

And Kasonso has advised political leaders to concentrate on real issues affecting the country as opposed to personal attacks on each other.

Meanwhile, Kasonso, who is also a Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee member, says the new Public Finance Act will be tough for those who misuse public funds.

He was speaking in an interview yesterday.

“Politicians should concentrate on real issues. Going personal does not resolve the problems that the country is facing. There is no need for personal attacks on each other. We have serious problems as a country and we need serious leaders. Our colleagues who are in government today should be serious because we have serious problems that need to be attended to,” Kasonso said.

He further warned Permanent Secretaries to stick to the guidelines of the Public Finance Act.

“And I hope that our colleagues, the Permanent Secretaries who have been appearing before our committee have learnt something from us and they should stick to the guidelines of the Public Finance Act. Because the new one which is coming is going to be very stiff and tough for anyone who is going to misuse public funds,” Kasonso said.

“We hope that there will be few areas of misuse of public funds, otherwise we shall never develop this country if we continue on the same path of misusing public money.”

And Kasonso said 2018 was expected to be a tough year economically because government had no money.

“My expectations for next year are that government will do the right thing particularly in terms of supporting agriculture. We hope that the E-Voucher will work because if it doesn’t work, there will be disaster. I also know that next year is going to be a very difficult year for government. They don’t have money as a result of not reaching closure with the IMF; not reaching a conclusion in the talks that they had started with the IMF. So it is going to be very difficult year for Zambia,” said Kasonso.