COMMERCE, Trade and Industry Minister Christopher Yaluma says Zambians should be patient and allow President Edgar Lungu to continue working on reducing the high cost of living.

In an interview, Yaluma, who is also Malole PF member of parliament, urged citizens to be patient as government worked on implementing viable solutions to arrest the escalating cost of living, which had shot up to over K8,500 per month for an average family of five.

“What we have gone through and what we are going through right now, the high cost of living, is something that cannot be avoided. COVID has also come to play a role, which we never anticipated, you can try and manage the economy in trying to do everything to provide a living standard, which is bearable, but COVID comes in with another knock, which is not only for Zambia, it has got a ripple effect, it is across the globe. All economies around the globe are experiencing economic downturn and some of these things to bring them up, it will need concerted efforts across the globe as we fight this pandemic. I will say not all is lost, and I will tell the people of Zambia just to be patient,” Yaluma said.

“Yes, I can cite such examples of prices of commodities are very high and we would like to talk to our retailers to ensure that they don’t just hike prices without any meaning or exploit the situation we are in while they should feel sympathetic for the public at large. So, we need to sensitise and tell the people of Zambia not all is lost, this thing will be corrected and we will come back just like other countries are experiencing. I was in South Africa, equally the prices have soared, they are high! So, this is something we will have to bear with for a little while as what has befallen us turns around; the pandemic and also allow President Edgar Lungu to put in place means and ways of trying to cushion this.”

He insisted that the PF’s performance on managing the economy was “superb”.

“The performance is superb! Things can tell for themselves, I think you are also seeing what Lusaka has been turned into. It is equally what is being done in other areas, provincial centres, district hospitals and electricity, all over. And I think PF has achieved a lot that has failed to be achieved by all other governments since independence, but we have done it in 10 years and I would like to commend the President of Zambia for being focused in trying to deliver on promises and development for the people of Zambia,” he said.

And Yaluma confirmed his intention to re-contest his seat in Kasama District.

“Yes, I will advance what I started, I have done quite a lot of developmental projects in Malole. We have a vast constituency where we need to ensure that we get all the feeder roads done. We didn’t manage through the government to do some, but it is not something you can accomplish in a day. We have done a number of schools, we have done rural health centres, clinics and mini-hospitals. We have provided water. So, there are a lot of things that we need to do so that we continue,” said Yaluma.