ZAMBIANS will remember 2020 as the year where the economy was brought to its knees, while corruption, anarchy and violence reached the highest levels in the country’s history, says Green Party president Peter Sinkamba.
In an interview, Sinkamba lamented that Zambians would remember 2020 as the year where the PF inflicted severe economic pain on citizens.
“It’s a year that we will remember as being extremely stressful, economically, socially and also, politically, even environmentally. Economically because we have a scenario where the Coronavirus hit us all, which has severely impacted the nation’s economy. And we also have a scenario where government took the country back, close to the old years, and reminded us of the pain associated with debt default as they defaulted on its commitment towards servicing loans, especially the Eurobonds. This will severely affect the economic scenario in the country in due course. So, we will remember it in that way. And, socially, because it’s a year where we have been affected badly because of COVID-19,” Sinkamba said.
“The social structure was quite affected in the country such that we were unable to do quite a lot of things. So, those are the main issues. It’s just that at the end of the day, the economic mess is such that we have not put any serious measures in place to stop the economy from collapsing. So, 2020 had serious economic challenges, which were also self-inflicting because of the carelessness of the PF. Zambians will remember this year as the year the PF ravaged the economy instead of building it up. When we look at 2020, we will remember that it’s a year where the PF have inflicted economic pain! The party has been doing so for the last nine years they have been in power, the economy has been declining in terms of growth, but 2020 was the crowning year! It’s the year where the climax of every challenge was brought up by the PF. So, in every aspect: be it corruption, abuse of authority, mismanagement of public funds and violence, the PF heightened this like never before! I don’t think we will see this again.”
He said PF would equally be remembered for failing to come up with solutions to revive the ailing economy that slipped into recession.
“But COVID-19 really did not bring these issues on us. On the issues of the debt, we knew a long time ago that we were supposed to be settling the debt in 2021. For example, we had set up a Sinking Fund to use towards the payment of the debt. Up to now, the last disclosure that we had from Margaret Mwanakatwe when she was finance minister was that we had a US $10 million in there out of the three billion dollars that should have been there, meaning that COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse for that. But for the last six years, we have failed to put in sufficient resources to sort out the debt portfolio. And now, we are in recession,” lamented Sinkamba.
“And also, if you look at the figures given by mining companies and government, you will realise that the mining output that is being pronounced is almost the same as that of last year. So, it means that COVID-19 did not affect us badly, then. Income from copper cannot be said to have been affected because the production levels are the same and the mines never really closed. So, even agriculture cannot be said to have been affected. I can’t remember any company, which closed because of the Coronavirus. All they did was to reduce manpower. The only ones who were affected were the bar owners, who had their facilities closed. Restaurant and barbershops were also affected, but their contribution to GDP is insignificant compared to the main manufacturing plants. In terms of imports and exports, we never closed our borders. So, goods were coming in and going out.”