UPND deputy secretary general Gertrude Imenda says Zambia’s economy will improve by 2023, provided that there are no more external shocks.

In an interview, Imenda said government had no control over external shocks.

“It is a worldwide phenomenon. In economics, we call it an external shock. For us as a government, those are external shocks. The shocks that you have no control over. Have you seen that Botswana has also increased? I mean those are external shocks and we have no control over them, unfortunately. So when you make a promise or even a budget, there are certain assumptions. The assumptions that we made were that everything including the prices were going to be okay, our exchange rate and things like that. Our exchange rate has been going up. They liquidated KCM and there was little production of copper in the country. Is it the UPND that brought that? No,” she said.

“So we inherited a lot of problems and if these people were going to come back, I do not know where we are going to go. The cost of living started going up from 2019 to the point that even the PF government failed to pay creditors. Remember we were buying mealie meal at one point at K200 but now between K125 and K155. I bought 2kg of sugar at K40 or something but in 2020 and 2021 the price of sugar had gone to over K60. As long as you are doing the right thing, yes they will not understand. And maybe where we fail ourselves is to go and explain to the people. We need to explain to the people. So maybe we will do that. So even if they will not understand, as we go, I believe that because of the measures we are taking, they may be painful now but all things being equal and if we do not receive any external shocks, by 2023 this economy will improve.”

Imenda bragged that UPND had fulfilled most of the promises within just three months of executing the 2022 budget.

“The UPND government found empty coffers besides a soaring debt of which is now going to $32 billion higher than our GDP. We have to look for resources to develop our country. This debt that has gotten, where did the money go? If law enforcement agencies discover that one person can give them information in their investigations, they can call them to investigate. So what is wrong with that? We need the money to come back because money has been stolen. Is it wrong for the government to investigate? So far within those seven months of being in office, actually only three months of executing our budget, how many of our promises have we fulfilled? These promises stretch over five years but how many have we fulfilled?” asked Imenda.

“We have free education, we have paid retirees and we have increased the threshold for SCT. Are we not recruiting health workers and teachers within seven months? We have fulfilled most of our promises within seven months. So what is the PF talking about? What promises did they fulfill when they were in government? They said we would have more money in our pockets but you know the poverty and destitution that was there. They did nothing but only left soaring debt. So we are restructuring the economy and one of the ways to do so is by finding out where the money that was borrowed went. And who is the best person to ask apart from those who were ruling? So we have already fulfilled most of our promises but we have five years. So we can only do it at a time, we did not say within the first month we will fulfill all the promises, no.”