State House’s explanation that load shedding, cholera and fall army worms derailed the Sinking Fund is a sign that the PF government is incompetent, says Rainbow Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba.
And Kabimba says the PF government must put its house in order by allowing only relevant ministries to speak on policy issues.
Meanwhile, Kabimba says government must explain the conditions given by the purported Turkish firm that has expressed interest in refinancing the US $750 million Eurobond debt.
Commenting on State House Press Aide Amos Chanda’s argument that electricity imports during the drought, cholera and fall army worms disrupted the country’s Sinking Fund, Kabimba said Chanda’s explanation pointed to PF’s incompetence.
Government establishment of a Loan Sinking Fund back in 2015 for the purposes of paying back the country’s Eurobonds successfully issued in 2012, 2014 and 2015 of US $750 million, US $1 billion and US $1.25 billion respectively.
“When the government is incompetent, like it seems to be very clear now that the PF government is incompetent, they should just acknowledge their incompetence instead of taking us round in explanations, which do not make sense! And some of these explanations must be coming from the Minister of Finance [and] not from Mr Amos Chanda as Press Aide to the President. These are issues of Monitory Policy. So, the PF government must put its house in order and make sure that appropriate offices make appropriate pronouncements to the people of Zambia so that when we want to raise follow-up questions, we are able to know that this is the office that has appropriate answers. I don’t think that the office of the press aide was in charge of that [Sinking] Fund. I don’t think that, if we ask Mr Amos Chanda how much was there (in the Sinking Fund), he would be able to explain to us. I don’t think if we asked Mr Amos Chanda how they apportioned that money to cholera, to army worms, to load shedding, I don’t think that he has answers to those questions,” Kabimba told with News Diggers! in an interview.
“But if what he is saying is correct, then it certainly flies in the face of Zambians that we [are] under a government, which is incompetent to manage the finances of this country! That’s the view we take as Rainbow Party. And the sooner the Zambian people realise that the PF government is incompetent, the better, then we should start looking for other leaders that can manage this country better than the PF is doing. This has nothing to do with one or two individuals in the PF; it has everything to do with the system that these guys are running. The capitalist system is not a system that addresses the interest of the majority, so it doesn’t matter who you put there. As long as you continue on the dreadlock of the capitalist system, Zambia’s problems will not be resolved, like we have seen the problems not getting resolved since 1991, that their taking of development is putting this country into deeper debt. That is what they are calling development.”
Kabimba also said that the rolling out of infrastructure was burdening the country with huge debts.
“They are telling us, ‘we are rolling out road infrastructure’ but at what expense? At the expense of a high debt burden on the Zambian people for this generation and maybe three to four generations to come. They are not telling us at what cost that road infrastructure is coming to the Zambian people. There is no need for us to be constructing roads when we can’t even feed ourselves, it doesn’t make sense! We can’t be rolling out road infrastructure when we have a shortage of ARVs. They are rationing ARVs right now. Just a few days ago, the Minister of Health was saying that, we need those donors who made pledges to fulfil those pledges; they don’t owe you a life, for God’s sake! They have got their own citizens to worry about. You can’t stand on Mount Olympus and start screaming to the high heavens that they are being unfair to you, no! We should take the fate of this country and of ourselves in our own hands. And the way we do that is to urge the Zambians to work hard. The way we do that is to ensure that we do not have a leadership in government that is self-interested and a corrupt leadership. That is what we have now,” Kabimba argued.
He observed that the lending of Eurobonds was one way Western countries used to exploit African countries.
“The Eurobond is a coalition of private sector money and the way they do it is like this; when the private sector in America or in Europe or in the UK, in particular, realize that the interest rates there are low, they put their money together, give that money to a bank or an institution to lend out to Africa and Asia at a prescribed interest rate higher than what is prevailing in their country, [and] for a very short period of time. Then when the interest rates in America or in the UK go up, the Eurobond period here would have expired. So, they get the money that they have made in Africa that they lent us, plus the interest, [then they] go and reinvest that money in the banks in the UK where the interest rates now are higher,” he explained.
“So, a Eurobond is not a government-to-government bilateral loan. It is private sector-to-government loan. So, this is not money that we have borrowed from the British government, it is money that we have borrowed from the private sector in the UK. That is where the exploitation comes in. They have it both ways. They make money by exploiting African countries, lending that money for a very short period of time.”
And Kabimba further said government must explain to Zambians what conditions the purported Turkish company interested in refinancing Zambia’s US $750 million Eurobond has given.
“So, if that is the principal, there is nothing wrong with a Turkish company refinancing the bond. I think what we should be asking the government is what are the conditions of that refinancing? Are they better than the existing conditions? What is the interest rate that that Turkish company is going to charge the Zambian government? Is it lower than the Eurobond interest rate? wondered Kabimba.