PF increases debt ceiling to K160 billion as Chikwanda causes stir in the House

The broke Patriotic Front government has used the arrogance of numbers in parliament to yet again increase the debt ceiling to allow them to borrow more money.
And Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda refused to withdraw a statement which brought confusion in the house just before the voting on the debt ceiling with some members threatening to beat each other.
After a lengthy debate a division was called and the PF managed 79 votes in favour of the increment while 30 voted against with 0 abstentions.
Just before the voting Prof Nkandu Luo was heard shouting ‘nalelo ku wina! Twalafiwina’ (even today we are winning)
The Thursday evening vote has now increased the external debt ceiling from 60 billion Kwacha to160 billion Kwacha or 160 trillion Kwacha old currency, a figure which is over three times more than the entire 2016 national budget.
Earlier on before the vote Information Minister and Chief tribalist Chishimba Kambwili said that government had to borrow to build roads claiming that had the PF government not borrowed money for roads Members of Parliament would have been getting to Parliament on bicycles.
Kambwili stressed that they were borrowing within the internationally accepted threshold adding that all countries were borrowing.
Commerce Minister Mwanakatwe said the debt limit of 60 billion Kwacha had been overtaken because the exchange rate has doubled.
She said the 25 million dollars that government was spending monthly for importation of power was not envisaged.
Mwanakatwe said the country was going through a difficult time which called for individuals, companies and government to tighten up.
And Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda refused to withdraw a statement which brought confusion in the house just before the voting on the debt ceiling with some members threatening to beat each other.
Chikwanda was called upon to wind up debate on the motion to increase the debt ceiling and went straight to attack opposition members.
He accused them of being political and deliberately misrepresenting facts stressing that so far the PF government had borrowed within the provisions of the law.
Chikwanda explained that the debt ceiling was increased from 35 billion Kwacha to 60 billion Kwacha but this was eroded on account of adverse movements in the exchange rate forcing government to exceed the debt ceiling by 12 percent.
He claimed that the current expenses on electricity and oil importations were not budgeted for.
Chikwanda said all countries borrow money and cited the USA, Japan and Euro zone countries as examples as per PF slogan of saying Zambia’s challenges were global.
Chikwanda then went for opposition members accusing them of deliberately ignoring the ‘successes’ resulting from borrowing.
‘People refuse to see roads in Choma and the hospital in Kalomo and they just want to politic, I feel pity for them because they belong to a party that will never form government for the simple reason that it has exclusivity as to where the leader comes from,’ Chikwanda said at which point the Speaker of the House Patrick Matibini warned him not to debate in that direction.
‘Seat down Honourable Minister of Finance, I don’t think it is necessary for you to go there, confine yourself to the motion and please lets have harmony,’ the Speaker counselled Chikwanda.
Chikwanda however ignored the Speaker insisting that he just wanted to divert a bit and would soon come back to the motion.
‘I thank you for guidance Mr Speaker but I just want to stray a bit I will come back to the motion, PF is a model, when our great leader died there was no insistence that because he came from Mpika’ the Speaker then interjected him and ordered him to seat down.
The house then turned into a chaotic scene with opposition members demanding that Chikwanda withdraws his statement.
‘Let him withdraw’ a member shouted, withdraw what! Chikwanda replied. ‘I will deal with you, you want to bring tribalism in the here.’ another member shouted ‘he is a naked tribalist and finished old man, a tribalist,’ at this juncture the speaker was just watching as security officers moved in the centre to prevent a possible punch up as Kambwili was also positioning himself.
Speaker ‘can the officers withdraw from the floor, please go back to your station, Mrs Mbewe get me Mrs Mwiinga,’ (Clerk of the House) the Speaker whispered.
Speaker ‘what option do we have,’ Mrs Mwiinga ‘but he was about to withdraw, he can just’ Speaker ‘find out from him if he is ready to apologise, confirm with him,’ Matibini told Mrs Mwiinga who responded ‘I don’t know but if you just tell him to withdraw I don’t know what he will say.’
‘Honourable Minister of Finance I am sure you have seen what has happened, could you withdraw the statement,’ the Speaker ordered Chikwanda.
I didn’t say anything offensive, I am morally constrained not to accept, I was just talking about a political party which has exclusivity what am I going to withdraw, Chikwanda argued at which point the Speaker threatened to abandon the whole process.
‘ If you continue that way I will also abandon this as well because this is disorder, I had said lets not go there that is all I want you to confirm,’ the Speaker warned Chikwanda.
Chikwanda then asked the Speaker to allow him to wind up debate but immediately said he had not offended anybody.
‘I haven’t offended anybody so what I am I going to withdraw? I said it is regrettable if I offended anybody,’ Chikwanda said as members shouted that he was undermining the Speaker.
The Speaker then just said ‘very well’ and called for a vote on the motion.

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