ECONOMIC Front leader Wynter Kabimba says the UPND government cannot reintroduce fuel subsidies because the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who are “running Zambia’s economy”, can’t allow them to do it.
In an interview, Thursday, Kabimba said there was no way the IMF could allow the UPND to subsidise fuel prices because it was one of the conditionalities which was given to government by the fund.
“There is no other way that UPND can handle this crisis other than subsidising the pump price of fuel. But the problem that they have is that, it is not them that are running this economy, this economy is being run by the IMF. So UPND as a government is not in control of the policy framework of this economy. Because of that, there is no way the IMF is going to allow the UPND to subsidise the fuel price because that is one of the conditionalities that has been given to the UPND government by the IMF,” he said.
“Whereas subsidising fuel would be the best thing to do so that Zambians are cushioned against the difficulties attendant with the price of fuel increment, they (UPND) cannot do it, or the IMF will not allow them to do it. So the best thing for the Zambian people to start doing is to start looking for alternative leadership which can put the Zambian people at the centre of the economic growth of this country. So it only takes presidents that are serious, like President [Paul] Kagame of Rwanda who has decided to side with his people, [to] cushion the economic difficulties of his people. And he says he doesn’t care what anybody thinks, he is going to subsidise fuel to make sure that the ordinary person can be assisted by the government.”
Kabimba said the UPND government had always believed that only the IMF could solve Zambia’s economic problems.
“Now HH and his team don’t have that capacity, it is clear from the word go that they have always believed that only the IMF can solve the economic problems of Zambia. They are so proud of their association with the IMF, pleading for $140 million, which will be given to them over a period of three years. It is seven months now into their term of office as UPND, they haven’t received not even a dollar from the IMF and yet the impression they gave in the opposition and when they assumed the reins of power was that the IMF money was sitting somewhere in this country in the bank. And as soon as they have settled down in government that money will be released or disbursed to them. That is not what has happened,” said Kabimba.
“To date, HH cannot tell the Zambian people that they have accessed not even a dollar from the IMF. To date, his Minister of Finance Situmbeko Musokotwane cannot say to the people of Zambia that the IMF money is in the country. So this is a government composed of surrogates of the IMF, this is a government composed of economists, including their President who is an economist, who religiously believe in the IMF as the key to resolving Zambia’s economic problems. This is a government which is so ignorant about the history of IMF programmes across Africa and they think that they are a special group that IMF is going to bend its rules because HH is in government today, it won’t happen.”