NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili has urged government to close down some missions abroad if it is failing to pay salaries, saying Zambians working overseas should not be subjected to begging.

Zambians diplomats are currently struggling in various missions abroad following government’s failure to settle their four months arrears in foreign service allowances, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advising them to forget about the September to December, 2019 arrears after they received January salaries.

But commenting on this matter in an interview, Kambwili told government not to turn Zambians working abroad into beggars.

“Let them not even reduce it to foreign service allowance, it’s there salary. Let them not call it an allowance, it is there salary. They want to use the word allowance to make it look like our people our there are getting some money and they are not getting some, that’s just the money those people use to survive in those foreign lands. It’s so unfortunate that this is happening to our people living in foreign land. But then I have told you, this government is broke and soon they will be failing to pay the civil servants, the entire civil service. And even those people who have been assigned outside the country are part of the civil service,” Kambwili said.

“As it stands now, government is failing to pay the civil servants in full, do you know why I am saying so? Government is not remitting statutory obligations to NAPSA and ZRA, they are not also paying lending institutions where civil servants have borrowed and request government to be deducting money from their salaries and onward transfer to those institutions. Now, if you cannot remit the deductions that you have recovered from an employees salary on his own instruction it means he’s not being paid in full, isn’t it? And if you can recover money for NAPSA from an employee and not pay NAPSA, it simply means you are not paying them in full.”

Kambwili asked government not to turn its citizens abroad into beggars.

“So as it stands now government is not paying the civil servants in full and they are now failing to pay those in foreign missions and foreign service. It is very unfortunate. So whoever is responsible please find money and pay these people, let not Zambians be beggars in foreign land. If you can’t afford to pay them then close the embassies. Why should out citizens remain in those countries if they can’t be paid? If government can’t pay them, they will turn into beggars, which is not good. So it’s just best that they are closed down if the government can’t afford to run all of them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kambwili said it was unfortunate that the current administration was not willing to admit that it run out of ideas on how to manage the country by seeking help from those outside government.

“People of Zambia need to wake up and accept the fact that things are not alright in this country. Things are very bad and our friends in government must accept that things are so bad and ask for help. We are ready to help and give them ideas on how they can get out of this quagmire. But the problem is that they are too pompous to ask for help from outside. One wonders what they even talk about when they are in their cabinet meetings. Today we have seen some cabinet ministers coming out from cabinet but what they discuss only heaven knows because things are getting worse by the day. There are no drugs in hospitals, there is no food to feed the patients in some hospitals. When we were in Chilubi, staff at the mission hospital there were told to be only admitting extremely sick people because they don’t have food to feed the patients. But when we tell Zambians that things are bad, they think we are joking. Things are bad for this government and they should just accept that things are bad. We need fundamental changes to stop the scourge. Otherwise, if this scourge is left to continue, people will start dropping dead from hunger and disease because there are no drugs in hospitals,” said Kambwili.