ADD president Charles Milupi has charged that the ‘miserable’ sums of money that government has paid small scale contractors will not only affect business but also their ability to continue employing Zambians.

And Milupi says Zambia is desperately in need of a government that has an understanding of how to run the economy.

On Friday, Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya announced at a media briefing that the K200 million which was released by the Ministry of Finance had been paid out to over 190 small contractors, 24 sub-contractors and consultants.

“I did announce two weeks ago that government was going to pay Zambian contractors beginning with small contractors. I’m happy to report that K200 million which was released by the Ministry of Finance has been paid out to over 190 small Zambian contractors and a further 24 sub-contractors, as well as consultants. It is important that Zambian contractors who do their work are actually paid so that we keep the economy commerce going and that the workers in the industry continue to look after their families. I know that some monies are still owed to some other small, medium and big contractors, government is really hoping that we can come to an end of this debt issue,” she said.

But in an interview with News Diggers! Milupi said the K200 million that government had released was an indication of how it was short of money and how bad the economy was.

“This alone is a clear indication of how bad the economy of this country is, how short of money this government is, how they have abused the resources of this country. And in the process of abusing the resources of this country, they have driven this country to mere bankruptcy. The amount of money owed by government (domestic arrears) as of December 31, of over K12.7 billion is a terrible situation. If this government was a company, for failing to pay their debts it will be totally insolvent by now,” he said.

Milupi observed that the ‘miserable’ sums of money that government had paid the contractors meant nothing tangible for the owed companies.

“If we go back to this K12.7 billion (domestic arrears), when you pay K200 million…the number of contractors is 190 small contractors, 24 sub contractors and consultants, so the number of entities that have been paid this K200 million is in the range of 214. If you divide that K200 million by 214, each one is receiving less than a million. These small contractors have employees, they have all sorts of people who have supplied them with materials [and] when you pay them these miserable sums of money it means you are affecting their ability to continue to employ Zambians, you are affecting their ability to continue to do business,” he said,

And Milupi charged that the PF government had no clue on how to get the economy of the country going.

“If you look at K12.7 billion which as of December 31, is the amount that government has accepted [that] they owed small contractors, at K200 million if based at the rate of K200 per annum, it will take over 30 years to liquidate that particular debt. Is that the intention of government? I think the answer is that they have no money and they have no clue as to how to get this economy going so that people can have more revenues. We are now going like headless chickens, taxing Zambians even more and more, including this Health Insurance scheme that the President signed,” he said.

Meanwhile Milupi said Zambia desperately needed a government that knew how to run the economy.

“We are desperately in need of a government of people that have an understanding of how to run the economy. If we have people who know how to run the economy, we will grow this economy. When we grow this economy it will generate revenues for government. From those revenues we will be able to liquidate debts not only for contractors or sub contractors but also for retirees. We will be able to fund social security such as those in health, education [and] also fund our infrastructure development such as roads, instead of using very expensive borrowed money which is making our situation much worse. In an addition to that much growing economy, we will be able to generate employment for our citizens so that everyone can support themselves,” said Milupi.