It is a fact that the PF government inherited a fairly healthy Treasury from the MMD, which allowed them to go on a thoughtless construction expedition. But now after depleting the reserves, they are pointing fingers in all directions and making Zambians pay for their lack of planning. When the PF came into power, our country’s foreign exchange reserves at Bank of Zambia were worth more than three months of import cover.
By the end of last year, Zambia’s gross reserves plummeted to just US $1.57 billion, the lowest in the last nine years, compared to around US $3.1 billion in 2014.
Due to unplanned expenditure, however, Zambia’s Treasury has ran out of money before PF could complete its haphazard construction projects. Unfortunately, this government ignored the warning alarms and continued to borrow in a bid to paint a continuing developmental agenda. Today, those shylocks who were lending them money are knocking, and the PF has been left with no option but to suspend funding to critical sectors in order to repay debt.
In fact, they have raped and mutilated the national budget in order to satisfy international lenders, but still, this has not helped in any way, so they are now having to borrow more this year in order to pay back what they borrowed last year.
What is amazing about this state of affairs is that the PF doesn’t want to admit that they have plunged the country into an economic crisis. The Ministry of Finance insists that everything is moving smoothly; that there is enough money in the reserves, the debt levels are very manageable and citizens must not worry about anything.
True to this narrative, the Zambia Revenue Authority also claims that it is exceeding revenue collection targets by millions of dollars. Since the current leadership at ZRA took charge, we have not heard of any failures in sweeping government revenue. All we have heard are surplus collections being poured into State coffers.
This should mean our country is floating in economic boom, and it is up to the citizens to choose if they want to believe that. But those who are saying that Zambia has never been closer to heaven than it is today need to give us answers. If we are prospering at that rate as a nation, why is this PF government struggling to pay salaries for civil servants? Why is it struggling to keep public universities afloat? Where is the money set aside in the 2019 budget for the University of Zambia and the Copperbelt University? How can a country that is recording unprecedented revenue surplus fail to pay salaries for university lecturers?
Fellow countrymen and women, there is no time left for bulls**ting anyone. Zambia is in a crisis; the government Treasury is currently distressed. What is happening at UNZA, CBU and other unpaid civil servants is a symptom of what our country is suffering from – economic malaise. The shut down of operations at the two highest learning institutions is a symbol of financial mismanagement by government.
Sadly, very few citizens seem to understand the level we are at in terms of depletion of the government Treasury. But we will do our part in sounding the distress signal. When those who mean well for this country warned that the much talked about infrastructure development was going to haunt the country, citizens didn’t want to believe because they thought it did not affect them directly.
We are back to remind citizens that the harder times they were being told to brace for are finally here. There is no more pretending now since that salary which meant that everything is okay has stopped coming regularly. The fact that, as a civil servant, you can no longer predict your pay day means you are in maningi trouble. And this is just the beginning, where we are going you will have to think twice on whether to buy single or double ply tissue.
Of course the Minister of Finance will dispute this reality and assure you that government, under the Great Leader of This Great Country, will never fail to meet its financial obligations. They will tell you that our hallucinations about the country’s economic crisis are nourished by total ignorance.
The truth is that government has for the past three months been failing to remit employee deductions to microfinance institutions. This failure also covers banks that lend civil servants through the PERMC system. This is the reason why we are hearing reports that BayPort is rethinking its lending partnership with government employees.
This failure by government to simply remit the component of a civil servant’s salary meant for microfinance loans means our government is actually failing to pay salaries in full. If this government has the impetus to breach their obligations with private sector players, then civil servants must simply guess if there are any chances that their PAYE and NAPSA contributions are being remitted.
What we are saying is not complicated. Zambia is in a very dire situation. The dreaded times have dawned. The distress signal is now red. When citizens hear any government official defending this crisis, what they should know is that those are airhostesses calming the situation down. Back in the cockpit, they know the danger is real and they are shouting: Mayday! Mayday! Zambia is going down!!