PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya says State House was astounded by the level of waste and plunder revealed in the Auditor General’s report, further stating that one cannot allow wasteful expenditure to spike from K3 million to over K1.4 billion over a period of 12 months.
And Bwalya says if there is a departure in the manner that UPND members present themselves on important issues, the party has the responsibility to remind them of what their initial commitment was.
The Auditor General’s Report on Accounts of the Republic for the financial year ended December 31, 2020 revealed that wasteful expenditure among ministries increased from K3.7 million in 2019 to K1.4 billion in 2020.
And speaking when he featured on Diamond TV, Saturday, Bwalya said State House was astounded at the level of waste and plunder being occasioned by Zambians against their own country.
“The President has no appetite to depart from the promises which he made to the Zambian people over the course of the campaign period. On the issue of education, the President has said that we should not be debating the idea of expanding educational opportunities for every citizen because that is the bare minimum. That also includes the provision of meal allowances to students, not just for UNZA and CBU but all other students. [That is] what the President has said, the question now should be how do we do it? Two days ago, the President and the State House administration team had a meeting with the Auditor and his team and they presented the Auditor General’s report. We were all astounded at the level of waste and plunder being occasioned by Zambians against their own country and their own brothers and sisters,” Bwalya said.
“We were thinking to ourselves, if only we can resolve these issues once and for all, even up to a mark of 50 percent, you will be amazed at the amount of incredible progress we would be able to make in the way of expanding learning opportunities for our people in the way of giving back meal allowances to our students. This is not an issue of ‘is there money’, we need to do the right thing. You cannot allow wasteful expenditure over a period of 12 months to spike from K3 million to over K1.4 billion. Those are actual learning opportunities that are being sacrificed by a small group of individuals.”
Bwalya said Zambians would be amazed at the amount of progress to be made in the way of expanding learning opportunities if the fight against corruption was won.
“I want to tell you colleagues and the Zambian people that when the President and his team looked at those results and we asked some fundamental questions and in our hearts and mind,s we were very clear that we will resolve those issues. Once we resolve those issues, we want to tell the Zambian people that there is absolutely no need why they would be going to hospitals and there are no medicines in there. There will be no need for them to be crying about expanded learning opportunities because capacity would have been created. This is also why the President continues to emphasise that we need to rebuild and grow the economy because nothing comes from nothing,” Bwalya said.
“We have to win the fight against corruption, we need to create an enabling environment that is going to allow the private sector and foreign enterprises to be able to pour money in the economy, create employment and create a base for government to collect tax and channel this revenue into productive sectors of the economy. The issues in the Auditor General’s report are centered on procurement. The President has been very clear that all public procurement to be done from now going forward will have to meet three basic conditions. Goods and services works by government will be done at the right price. We have to deliver quality goods and services and those works must be delivered on time.”
And Bwalya said there was no departure in the UPND’s commitment to reform public places.
He added that if there was a departure in the manner that UPND members present themselves on important issues, the party had the responsibility to remind them of what their initial commitment was.
“There is absolutely no departure in and around the UPND’s commitment in as far as reforming these public places function which is that they must function for the benefit of all of us, irrespective of our political party affiliation. That is the underlying tone of the party which we set and presented to the Zambian people and the Zambian people said that is absolutely the way to go. The President has continued to toe that line and the party must and will continue to toe that line,” Bwalya said.
“If there is a departure in the manner that a member of the party presents themselves on an issue as important as this, then we all have a responsibility to remind ourselves of what our initial commitment was and what our commitment should and must be going forward. This is what the President did over the course of that press conference, to remind all of us and not just those within the party but the Zambian people at large. We made a commitment over the course of the campaign period that we are going to follow through with that commitment.”
Bwalya reiterated that everyone must have a stake in the management of public places.
“We are going to make markets and bus stations safe for every Zambian. We always say that this President was not elected just by the UPND but by even people who were not affiliated to any political parties. Everyone must have a place and a stake in the management of those public places. There is absolutely no disconnect or departure and disagreement of any sort. It is interstate that he mentioned about the issue of flags flying, I mean that is just stupid. Why would you want to do that, I mean to what end? And again I want to say that people just want to go there and trade. No one is interested in that. We must now just go back to the culture of rebuilding this country. The time for politics is over,” said Bwalya.