The statement by President Edgar Lungu on the current economic crisis is completely hollow and a waste of Government ink and paper. There are literally no tangible practical solutions that Mr Lungu is offering to address the rapid depreciation of the Kwacha, the crippling load shedding and the general economic meltdown.
Instead of taking personal responsibility for the economic mismanagement, Mr Lungu in his usual “It’s not my problem” attitude opted to blame China for the current massive power cuts and the rapid deterioration of the Kwacha.
However, as FDD, we want to applaud Mr Lungu for finally admitting what we have always been saying that the economy has collapsed. We are in a deep crisis.
First, we want to state categorically that it is totally unacceptable and highly irresponsible for a President, the Head of Government to refuse to take responsibility but instead opt to blame other countries for the mess that him and his PF Government have plunged us in. We find the President and his Government’s attitude of justifying our suffering by claiming that even other countries are going through similar situations to be really nauseating. How can any reasonable parent tell his children that it’s okay for them to go hungry since the children of their neighbour are also sleeping on empty stomachs? What kind of reasoning is that? Is it China that reduced mineral royalty tax from 20% to 9%? Is it China that refused to introduce windfall tax? Is it China that is creating unplanned and unbudgeted for districts? Is it China that is orchestrating the senseless by elections? Is it China that is stopping PF from investing in Agriculture, health care, education, manufacturing and processing industries? Is it China that is employing cadres in sensitive and important Goverment positions? Is it China that used 13.4 billion Kwacha on an unbudgeted for expenditures? Is it China that created a 20 billion Kwacha budget deficit? Is it China that is fuelling and abetting the theft and corruption in the PF Government? Mukazinkhalako na nsoni aLungu! Be a man and take responsibilty of your own actions. These are the consequences of having a person with no vision, no plan, no ambition and no character as your President. We are paying a heavy price.
Now, let us dissect President Lungu’s press release line by line. The President admits that the Kwacha is deteriorating partly due to the huge trade deficit with traditional exports declining by over 26 percent. What is the President’s solution to this? Nothing. His solution is that it is China’s fault that our industries are dead.
The President says he has directed the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia to be monitoring the falling Kwacha and appraising him on how low the Kwacha is sinking on a daily basis. Really? Mr President just sitting down, doing nothing but just observing how the sick the Kwacha is becoming daily is your solution to our depreciating currency? No practical steps to be taken? Sorry! Mr President, we are in a crisis and we expect you and your Government to give us a clear menu of practical intervention measures you are taking to address the situation, not empty rhetorics. Give us solutions. That’s what you were elected to do.
Listen to this: The President is urging all entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses to increase their production. Increase production? How? How can businesses increase their production when there is no power? How can they increase their production amidst massive load shedding, high fuel prices, high electricity tariffs, high cost of transport and a weak Kwacha? Does this President even have basic knowledge of the factors of production? Mr President, the cost of doing business is very high and that is adversely affecting productivity. Deal with it.
The president has directed all Government institutions to rationalise and minimise all areas that engender foreign currency expenditures. How will Government institutions achieve that when they depend on imports since as a country we manufacturing nothing apart from such things as Yoyo, Chibuku, tujilijili and maheu? Does this man know what is going on? How can you reduce importation of foreign goods when you are not producing anything of value locally? You have not invested in the manufacturing and processing industries. Mr President are you insuniating that these Government institutions should be purchasing products in Kwacha on the foreign markets? Sorry bwana, that is not possible, the Kwacha is not an internationally recognised currency like the Dollar.
The President further enjoins private businesses to reduce foreign currency exchange costs. How? How is that possible? We depend on imports since we produce nothing locally.
The President says Government has signed a contract with Aggreko to supply up to 148MW. Mr President in case you didn’t know, we have a shortfall of over 560MW and with Zesco further reducing it’s production to 305MW your 148MW is nothing. It will have no impact whatsoever.
The president is encouraging all of us to use alternative sources of energy such as gas and solar. Very well. Just how affordable and accessible are these alternative sources of energy to the majority poor Zambians?
It is clear that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is lost, irresponsible and a time waster who has neither the clue nor the capacity to effectively manage our economy and steer this country to greater social and economic prowess. The onus lies upon each and every patriotic Zambian to get rid of this inept, corrupt, good for nothing government and elect a team of leaders who have the passion, commitment and capacity to deal with this economic crunch and secure the future of our motherland.
Issued by Antonio Mwanza, FDD spokesperson.