ADD president Charles Milupi says government was going to gain public confidence in the recently announced austerity measures if the statement was made by President Edgar Lungu himself.
And Milupi in an interview said it was senseless to cite the Brexit deal as one of the factors affecting the local currency when the deal has not even affected the British pound.
“When we are in a war of problems like these, we expect our president to be the one in the forefront to explain things and to give reasons as to why things have gotten to that. Why is Mr Lungu quiet? Why is he leaving it to Mwanakatwe? Is he not able to say anything? That is where he should have given a public statement followed by questions from you the journalists because we know that if he announces it himself, we know that they will stick to the plan. Mr Felix Mutati when he was finance minister announced similar measures. Anything that is announced by a minister in this PF government, the president comes to reverse. So this would have given confidence if these measures were announced by the president himself. And very soon out of those measures that were announced by Mwanakatwe, we will be hearing about exemption ‘no this one and that one is exempted, that contract we shall pay, that minister will do that and so on’ because that is how they survive, by getting money from government,” Milupi observed.
Milupi said it is pleasing to note that the PF government had finally accepted that the country’s economy was in a mess.
“We are glad that they have finally accepted what we have been saying for years and more especially for months about this country being in an economic mess. When we were talking about these matters, we were being told that we are jealous and that we want regime change. We have been talking about the deterioration of our economy which has resulted in the hardships in the living standards of our people, lack of employment, high commodity and fuel prices, public employees not being paid on time and others not being paid at all, those grant aided institutions like councils not receiving what they should be receiving, students not getting meal allowances, all these are symptoms of a deteriorating economy,” Milupi argued.
And Milupi said it was illogical to cite the Brexit deal as one of the factors affecting the kwacha.
“And in addressing the issue, you have to recognise the cause of that problem but that is where we have difficulties with them because they have not recognised the cause of the mess that we are in. They are talking about strengthening of the kwacha, and also the Brexit among the reasons. But I don’t understand how Brexit can be responsible for our kwacha losing value, our people being unemployed, cost of living being high in Zambia when Brexit has not affected Britain. The owners of Brexit have not been affected. If you look at their economic performance, they have not been affected. So we see that level of dishonesty. I would have thought that they would have said this currency failure is as a result of tender documents found at ministers’ houses when they should be in civil servants offices, where contracts are being given at exorbitant prices. These things could have a terrible impact on the economy. This uncontrolled commercial borrowing at very high interest rate has caused all this,” said Milupi.
“So all these factors that I have talked about are what have brought us in this mess that we are in today. And it would have been prudent for the PF government through cabinet to recognise that this is what has caused these issues so that even as you address the issues, you stay away from repeating the same mistake. In that statement I haven’t seen anything about fighting corruption. They have taken measures that makes the situation worse. When they liquidated KCM and I know that that thing will cost us like Zamtel cost us so much money. So let them recognise the cause of the problem.”