PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya says questions on Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) chief executive officer Mateyo Kaluba’s continued stay in office despite being arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission should be raised with the Corporation.

And Bwalya says President Hakainde Hichilema’s trips cost less than a third of what presidential trips used to be during the previous administration.

When asked what President Hichilema’s position was on Kaluba’s continued stay in office at a press briefing, Friday, Bwalya said IDC had standard procedures of operation and engagement relating to employees and should therefore answer such questions.

“The issue of IDC, but I would prefer that the matter is raised with the IDC. I am sure they have standard procedures of operation and engagement relating to employees and I am sure they will be happy to clarify that,” Bwalya said.

And when asked to address stakeholders’ concerns about President Hichilema’s trips, Bwalya said the cost of presidential trips had been drastically reduced.

“Every time the President has traveled and every time the President will travel in the future, it will principally be for purposes of promoting and enhancing opportunities relating and inherent to trade and investment. We have continued to say that if we want to rebuild and reconstruct this economy and deliver expanded social and economic dividends for its people, there must be accelerated trade and investment taking place between this country and various countries not just within the region but on the continent and global community. That means that we need to pace up on our bilateral relationships and engagement with other countries and the President is keen on that,” he said.

“The other thing we must continue to note is for the first time in this country ever since this President assumed office, all presidential trips are running on less than a third of what it used to cost under the previous regime. What that means is that for every K100 which previously was being spent on a presidential trip, we are spending much less than K40. The rest of the K60 is now money that is being redirected to areas of productive support to our people. So when we say that we are delivering K25.7 million per constituency in CDF, this is money that is not just falling from the sky. This is money that is rising systematically and across the entirety of how government works, this government is moving money from areas of wastage, plunder and theft and making sure that money stays in this country and works constructively.”

Meanwhile, Bwalya President Hichilema would continue to be available to constructively engage and work with civil society organisations.

“The President will continue to emphasise his and the new administration’s commitment to enhance democracy. This done substantively by expanding the political and civic space where all political players and civic voices can and are being heard without the toxic possibility of interference either by the police or sponsored violent cadres. As was the practice under the old regime. The President continues to urge that all political parties participating in the various by-elections do so peacefully and focus on the core issues that affect the people in the communities where they live,” Bwalya said.

“The President is also appreciative of the civil society movement in our country and the work they do in complimenting government’s push for enhanced transparency, accountability and equity in public life. The President will always continue to be available to constructively engage and work with the civil society organisations and their leadership across the board on various matters of beneficial interest to the people of this country. Let me emphasise that from the President’s perspective, CSOs and their leadership are partners in our quest to build a Zambia fit for all of us. They are not our enemies and we will continue to thank them for their incredible work that they are doing in their respective rights.”

He said there was no reason why the country could not achieve a single digit inflation rate.

“You also recognise that within the macro-economic framework of our country, it has been five months since we assumed office, we had set out to rebuild and reconstruct the economy and deliver and expand social and economic dividends for all our people. And already, inflation is now down from 24.4 in August of 2021 when we assumed office to now a remarkable 15.1 percent. And with this, we have every reason to believe that by the end of this year, there is no reason why we cannot and should not be able to achieve a single digit inflation rate,” Bwalya said.

Bwalya also said the process of appointing diplomats was ongoing.