Don’t blame climate change but corruption for economic crisis – KBF

Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF) says climate change has got nothing to do with the current economic problems but the government’s procurement system which is corrupt.

And KBF says the country is suffering from load shedding because someone in the line of authority wants to protect Zesco’s insolvency.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka, Thursday, KBF said Zambians need to realise that the biggest impact of the poor decisions made in the country has been in last eight years.

He further said some decisions made by the government had caused the many economic problems being faced in the country today, and not climate change.

“Zambian builders have built Chalala, Chamba valley, Salama park and the many upcoming suburbs all over the country. Yet, some of our fellow Zambians in government made a decision that houses for the police and soldiers should be build by the Chinese at Exorbitant costs. Why? Some Zambians in position of authority somehow somewhere made a decision that services and goods that should ordinarily cost one billion dollars should instead cost the citizens of Zambia three times that amount. Our government procurement system has been corrupted! My fellow Zambians, there is no denying that these decisions were made and records and public pronouncements exist to that effect. The PF government, headed by His Excellency, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, made these decisions. People made decisions and these people must take responsibility for those decisions. Climate change has nothing to do with this. Our biggest deficiency as a nation currently is that we seem to think politics is the same as leadership. Zambia needs leadership with a clear vision of where we should be going,” KBF said.

He said 95 per cent of the country’s problems are a result of the decisions and choices made in the past eight years.

“My fellow Zambians, it is commendable that the current leadership of his Excellency, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, have not shied away from admitting that our nation is currently going through tough economic times with painful impact on many vulnerable families. What is of greatest concern, however, is that some amongst us do not seem to want to face the demon that has brought our nation to its knees economically fully cognizant of the effects of climate change. We need to get to grips with the reality that 95 per cent of our troubles as a nation have to do with the decisions and choices we have been making in the past 18 years. Of course with the biggest impact coming from the decisions made in the last eight years alone,” KBF said.

“We must accept and agree that politicians in power made a conscious decision to give 80 per cent of government contracts, amounting billions of dollars, to foreign companies. A group of Zambians somehow somewhere, made a decision not to pay for the insignificant 20 per cent allocated to local contractors. Instead, they decided to pay foreign contractors expeditiously through prompt external debt servicing.”

He also wondered why there was no prior planning to ensure Zambians were protected from eventualities that could lead to reduced power generation.

“We are suffering load shedding today because somehow, somewhere, someone wants to protect Zesco which is technically insolvent. Zesco is broke. (i) Has Zesco in recent past produced audited accounts worth its position? If so, (ii) why is Zesco failing to borrow? Or why are banks refusing to lend to Zesco? (iii) What is the real cost of our electricity today? (iv) Is it true that our electricity tariffs are the lowest in the region? (v) What are the real margins in the cost of production in Zambia compared to other countries? (vi) What methods are other nations using to produce electricity? (vii) Do other utilities in the region, like Zesco, control generation, transmission and distribution? viii) With the new weather patterns caused by climate change, are we able to see the future and project? If so, why did we not employ hedging instruments to ensure that we had electricity when we needed it at an agreed future price?” KBF asked.

He said he is optimistic that Zambians are still capable of kicking out of power “any group of arrogant politicians who refuse to heed to their calls”.

“[A] few decisions alone deprived this nation of the much needed cash circulation to keep our economy vibrant. These decisions have brought about most of the economic hardships we are experiencing today. No, it was not climate change but choices made consciously by fellow Zambians in positions of authority. For some reason, politicians still want to show arrogance and impunity. May I mention that the two times that those we charged with the authority of administering the affairs our nation, chose denial, arrogance, pride and refused to heed the voice of the Zambian people, Zambians rose to the occasion and removed them from power. I have no doubt that Zambians are still very capable of showing any group of people the door, No matter how powerful or financially resourced they may think they are,” KBF added.

Meanwhile, KBF said he pities Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ngandu for being made to present a budget which he did not prepare or study.

“May I lament here that our new budget does not suggest any serious attempt to stimulate sufficient growth in employment figures for our country. This is rather unfortunate. I feel for my elder brother, the current Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu because he came in rather late. I know how Honorable Bwalya Ngandu thinks [because] I have dealt with him. I feel sorry for him because he was thrown at a deep end. He was given a budget to go and present which may not really be his budget. His greatest influence perhaps in the budget is that he has taken away Sales Tax and maintained VAT. We must be able to understand that the finance minister must be able to plan and think through his numbers before he presents,” he said.

And KBF said he chose not to participate in the Constitution Amendment process because of the wrong methodology used in the process.

“Bill number 10 for me, I have never even looked at it because the methodology is wrong. No president in our history ever went and involved members of parliament at the initial stage to change the constitution and then send it back to the people for approval, no. Everybody went for a commission [where] you ask for the views of the people knowing that ultimately, it will end up in Parliament. So why start with Parliament? That Bill for me should never have started. But it’s there,” he said.

And asked what his position was after being expelled from PF, KBF said he would only talk about the matter after resolving one thing with President Lungu but insisted that “I am still a member of the party”.

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