GOVERNANCE activist Brebner Changala says five years is sufficient for the UPND government to transform the country’s economy if they apply their training, efforts, patriotism and vision.

In an interview, Monday, Changala said for the new government to turn around the economy, there was need for political will and qualified people to hold government positions.

“Five years is sufficient time for UPND to turn around our economy, it is enough time. What we need is political will. Secondly, people who are confident to occupy positions that they are sufficiently qualified for. We need to minimise the wastage of the little resources that we have. The Minister of Finance Honourable [Dr Situmbeko] Musokotwane and the President who is a principled supervisor, are all economists, sufficiently well trained in management of economic nature, but most importantly to manage financial resources in a crisis like we are going through today,” he said.

“So I’m very clear in my mind that if they apply their efforts, patriotism, their training, and their vision, five years is more than enough. They might not achieve everything in this period of time, but they will set a platform for the economy to be heading in the right direction. It will take professionalism, dedication, patriotism, and moving with the people of Zambia, they must not leave the people behind, no! SMEs must come on board, the private sector must be included and other incentives must be given to the emerging small business enterprise.”

Changala said Zambians had a lot of hope in the Hakainde Hichilema-led government after the 10 years experienced under the previous regime.

“There is immense hope, this is Zambia’s last hope in hell. We have been with PF for the last 10 years, all they have done is corruption, running down our treasury and keeping resources for individual benefit. We have the great administration that is coming with Mr Hakainde Hichilema. These are seasoned managers except they are elevating themselves from the corporate world, they are now coming to manage a huge investment called the people of Zambia,” he said.

“I can tell you on their shoulders lies the people’s aspirations and the people’s desire to liberate themselves both financially, economically and liberalize their freedom in order to fit in the current dispensation. So we have a lot of hope and I think they will succeed with a little of Zambians participation and support.”

Changala noted that one of the biggest challenges the new government faced was dismantling the country’s debt.

“I’m telling you one of the biggest challenges they will have to tackle is the debt mountain. They have to navigate around this huge debt which the PF has left and the depleted coffers. They have to renegotiate some of these loans which are almost due, they have to renegotiate some of the Chinese infrastructure developments which were overpriced in order to accommodate the criminal benefits in the Patriotic Front regime. So this is what they are going to face. But there is no challenge that is big if people are pulling together in one direction,” said Changala.

“The second challenge is how to help the people of Zambia to put food on the table because the economy has literally collapsed. They need to tackle the interest rate, inflation rate and recreation. In other words, they need to give back incentives to companies in order for companies to start re-employing the people they laid off. How do they do it? They need to look at the tax regime and tax obligation for SMEs. The taxes in this sector are very high and yet the economy has collapsed.”