PF media director Sunday Chanda says opposition UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka is trying to mislead and misinform the nation that the ruling party has failed to run the country by paying a blind eye to global economic trends.

Recently, Katuka challenged President Edgar Lungu to resign if he had failed to govern the country, arguing that the Head of State did not care about Zambians.

“It is clear that Edgar Lungu and his Patriotic Front (PF) have failed to govern the country. They have no solutions to the problems they have caused on millions of Zambians. Lungu’s ministers do not even understand what Zambians are going through under Lungu today. Lungu and his PF government do not care about the suffering Zambians. It is clear that Lungu is up to ensuring his party milks Zambians at all cost. While Tanzania is reducing fuel pump price, Lungu and his PF are seeing an opportunity for making money. It is clear that Edgar Lungu and his PF went into government to eat and not to serve the people of Zambia. We have advised the PF to impose subsidies on imported fuel so that the economic realities arising from fuel increase do not create further economic shock,” stated Katuka.

“Already, prices of some commodities in supermarkets have been revised and these will negatively affect the poor Zambians. Many Zambians now believe that the PF went into leadership without a plan and this is evident from the way they have destroyed the country. Ever since Lungu took over leadership, the country’s economy has been sinking. From a growth rate of 7 per cent per annum when PF took over government from the MMD, Finance minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu now projects the economy to decline to 2 percent next year. We urge Lungu to resign and allow for a serious leader to correct the wrongs and economic hardships he has created. Even if Lungu was given more years to rule , nothing can come out of his leadership. He is a failure.”

But reacting to this, Chanda stated that the UPND was just riding on misinformation because global economic challenges were there for all to see.

“We find it extremely worrying that the Secretary General of what is supposed to be the country’s main opposition party, United Party for National Development (UPND) Mr Stephen Katuka could comfortably, with intent to mislead and misinform, trade such ignorance in the public space. Every objective observer and Zambian citizen, including any serious opposition party will attest to the fact that since the UNIP government of the 1960-70s, no subsequent government has developed as much road infrastructure, bridges, invested in alternative power generation investments, and massive infrastructure development in health, education and communications sector – as the PF government has managed to achieve, in only 8 years (2011–2019),” Chanda stated.

“Mr Katuka and UPND may wish to know that Zambia exists and operates not as an island within the global economy. This means that Zambia’s economic performance cannot escape the effects emanating from global economic currents. We invite the UPND to give Zambians what they consider to be implications for an economy such as ours in light of the current adverse global economic currents, according to the IMF, include the USA-Sino Trade War, U.S Auto Tariffs and No-Deal Brexit. Is Mr Katuka even aware that this has led the IMF and World Bank to cut global economic growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020, with countries such as the USA seeing a significant economic slowdown in 2020 to only 1.9%? While it’s understandable that UPND is still in denial of Climate Change, they would be wise to know that another adverse global current relates to adverse climatic conditions and weather patterns, which in the case of Zambia, have combined to negatively impact the agriculture, energy and other sectors, and consequently the whole economy.”

Chanda stated that the PF government had put in place measures to mitigate these challenges.

“PF Government continues to constrain the primary balance while attracting concessional financing for the Budget to mitigate the adverse implications of high debt service in the medium term, by; curtailing the accumulation of debt and reorganizing the current debt portfolio in order to minimize costs and mitigate the risks associated with it. These and other measures by the PF Government have mitigated the adverse effects of the subdued global economy and the resultant lower capital inflows to Zambia. The PF government has been implementing various measures aimed at achieving macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability; fiscal restraint to achieve low levels of primary balance deficit through the current Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), to mention only two,” stated Chanda.