CSPR shocked at govt plan to get $50 million loan to buy helicopters

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has expressed shock at government’s intention to procure a $50 million US dollars loan for purchase of helicopters for the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).
And CSPR says it was suspicious of government dealings with the named firm where government wants to source the $50 million US dollars helicopters because the said company has been receiving single sourced treatment from government on many other transactions.
CSPR Communication Programme Officer Maxson Nkhoma has stated in a statement that the move was not only irrational and ill timed but also goes to demonstrate that government is faced with incapacity in prioritisation in light of economic challenges facing the country.
‘The decision to get a loan in the tune of $50 million US dollars to purchase helicopters is a laughable one particularly considering the fact that it is only last month when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the government to immediately start implementing the economic recovery strategy plan which could help the country consolidate on its economic growth by maintaining high fiscal policy discipline, Nkhoma said.
He said while it was appreciated that government was trying to address mobility problems when the country is faced with disaster and hunger, CSPR was of the considered view that government must make correct investment choices with little available resources.
Nkhoma observed that the country is faced with many challenges including lack of funding to government departments which has forced the Public Service downsizing its operations, lack of funding to institutions of higher learning such as the Copperbelt University and University of Zambia resulting in failure to pay lecturers and student meal allowances.
He noted that it was no longer a secret that the Zambian economy was under intense pressure and the only solution was to implement economic recovery measures.
Nkhoma further pointed out that electricity shortages, lower copper prices coupled with poor rains have dampened the pace of economic activity.
‘Inflation has increased, expenditure pressures have raised and financing conditions have tightened substantially, it is therefore wrong for government to pretend that everything is rose in the economy by embarking on procurement of expensive leisure helicopters which will not help put food on the table of the poor Zambians,’ Nkhoma said.
And CSPR says it was suspicious of government dealings with the named firm where government wants to source the $50 million US dollars helicopters because the said company has been receiving single sourced treatment from government on many other transactions.
He said the single sourcing of one firm was raising serious questions in stakeholders regarding transparency in the awarding of government contracts.
Nkhoma has called on the government to swallow its pride and immediately start implementing the IMF economic recovery strategy without delay to save the country from running into an economically bankrupt state.

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