The announcement by the PF Government that Zambia needs an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme is an indictment on their poor leadership. They must now accept responsibility for failed economic management and lack of direction, as well as failure to take action sooner.
The prospect of an IMF package is a very serious matter with significant consequences for the Zambian people, particularly the most vulnerable. The first time the country underwent an IMF programme was soon after 1991 when the MMD came into office after the failed UNIP regime. Those who lived through the days of the last IMF deal will remember the pain of many of the measures that came along with the deal, notably those resulting in job losses and company closures.
As a country we have been blessed with many great natural resources that we can utilise to drive economic growth and development for our people. Yet under the PF Government, borrowing, poor planning, and wasteful and thoughtless spending have reversed everything that was achieved under the late President Mwanawasa (MHSRIP) when the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) programme relieved Zambia from its massive debt burden.
Zambians must now brace themselves for hard times ahead should the PF Government be retained in office in August. Their track record in office is clear proof that they do not have the economic and business know-how or skills necessary to negotiate terms that will protect our citizens and their livelihoods. Nor do they have the capability or will power to institute the required changes or reforms.
Only strong and visionary leadership with regard for long-term planning can deliver the country now, and ensure that as we confront our economic challenges, without hesitation or delay, that we protect the most vulnerable and pursue a path to growth that benefits us all.