Patriotic Front (PF) regime spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni says his regime has scored a number of successes and is on course to achieving economic prosperity since it took office last September.
Sakeni cited the reinstatement of the Abuse of Office clause in the Anti-Corruption Act by the PF as a progressive clause which has not only strengthened the fight against corruption but has restored donor and investor confidence in the country’s economy and governance.
He didn’t mention that the so called fight against corruption is just aimed at people not affilliated to him party the PF. People like defence minister Geoffrey Mwana are engaged in corruption everyday but that clause does not applty to him.
“During the first six months of 2012, the total pledged investment of the approved projects amounted to US$4,154,209,065 with an expected job creation of 18,778 opportunities for Zambian citizens,” he said.
He ignored ratings by international organisation which say Zambia’ donor confindence has dwindled. He also decided to ignore opinions by Zambian born international economist Dambisa Moyo who said investors are afraid to risk their money in Zambia.
He also did not say how much of the total pledges in the 6 months have been actually been relaised or pumped into Zambia.
He could not mention any single job opportunity created in the six months but is still talking about ‘expected job creations’ after 10 months.
Sakeni who is also Information and Broadcasting minister said the increased investment pledges represent an increase of about 37 per cent when compared with slightly above US$3 billion during the same period in 2011 with corresponding increase in expected employment opportunities from 17,999 in 2011 to 18,778 representing a 4% increase.
He said preliminary statistics for the first quarter of 2012 indicate an increase of 96.2 per cent in Non Traditional Exports from US$305.9 million recorded in 2011 to US$600.2 million recorded in the same period in 2012.
Without job opportunities for youths and women, most Zambians are crossing the border under bad conditions to sale all sorts of items. These are the things Sakeni is counting above.
“Additionally, the PF Government has introduced a combination of reductions in the statutory reserve ratio, the core liquid asset ratio, the corporate tax rate for banks and the Bank of Zambia Policy Rate to induce a reduction in commercial banks’ lending rates to an average of 16.6 per cent in August 2012 from 26.3 per cent in November 2011,”Mr Sakeni said.
There is a high possibility that Sakeni does not understand the langauge used in the paragraph above but just lifted it the way it was given to him by Bank of Zambia.
What would have been meaningful here is for Sakeni to tell us how many unemployed Zambians have accessed loans from these banks to startup some small businesses.
He said the economy was poised to register a positive growth for 2012 with a GDP projection of above 7 percent, single digit inflation rate, decreasing rates and more than US$2 billion in foreign reserves.
We have head about these projections before but they have never befited anyone in Zambia apart from government officials.
A single digit inflation to unemployeed millions of youths means nothing. Its just a number.
He said the PF government was committed to ensuring that good economic performance translates into tangible poverty reduction and wealth creation especially at grass root level.
He is obviously still campaigning.
“Other milestone achievements include the increase in the tax exemption threshold and the upward revision of the minimum wage for low earners. The PF Government increased the tax exemption threshold from K1 Million to K2 Million. This means those earning below K2 Million are not taxed,” Mr Sakeni said.
Only about 80 thousand people benefited from these and whatever they did not pay in taxi, they paid in form of increased bread and mealie meal prices. They are also paying more for transport since local transport has increased.
He said the PF Government has also recently adjusted the minimum wage by about 100per cent, putting salaries for domestic workers at K522, 000 per month, while shop and general workers will now earn about K1.1 Million.
Maybe he does not live in Zambia. Because we all know that hundreds of people have lost jobs because of this chaotic minimum wage and the truth is that most employers have ignored it.
“Accountability and good performance shall continue to be the focus of the PF Government in order to effectively respond to current and future challenges and efficiently bridge gaps in the implementation of the national development agenda,” Mr Sakeni said.
He said government was in the process of establishing a government wide monitoring and evaluation system which would enhance resource allocation and evaluation system to projects and tracking of policy performance, including support of results based management.