Stabilize the economy now: ZUFIAW tells PF

As a labour movement (the Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers- ZUFIAW) we would like to call upon government to immediately resolve the depreciation of the local currency against major foreign currencies. ZUFIAW is concerned by this recent rapid depreciation of the Zambian Kwacha against foreign currencies such as the US Dollar, the British Pound and the Euro. The labour movement can no longer sit back and remain quiet over this issue, given that our members are among the worst affected stakeholders in the country. The cost of living is increasing every day and it has become extremely difficult for people to lead decent and fulfilling lives.
If not quickly resolved, inflation in the country will increase rapidly than the current levels, given that it tends to be more sensitive to currency fluctuations. These currency movements have started to negatively impact consumer prices in the country and people are feeling the effects of this situation.
The short-term mechanisms to stabilize the Kwacha and avoid further challenges that come with such a free fall, have not worked and we need to re-evaluate our strategies. We challenge government to employ long-term corrective measures which shall restore confidence in the people of Zambia. The confidence levels in the economy are at their lowest ebb and this will cost us valuable investment and development opportunities. As a labour movement we have been observing this situation, waiting to see decisive action to rectify the problem. We are not happy with the way our economy is, at the moment and we call upon all stakeholders and relevant decision makers to quickly come up with workable strategies in resolving the matter in issue.
As much as we are grateful for the roads and other infrastructure development projects, we are mindful of the fact that our people also have immediate needs which need to be attended to. We also appreciate and embrace the long term visions and goals set by government but let us ensure that people have enough to eat and they are able to take care of their families along the way.
Over the years we have warned against the over dependence on copper and the recent price decline on the London Metal Exchange has seen our local currency struggle, because there isn’t enough foreign currency coming into the country. Zambia has no other direct source for bringing in foreign currency, the real problem is that Zambia’s real wealth is not coming in because of our limited exporting credentials of copper, sugar, cement, vegetables and meat products.
We further call upon the opposition political parties to give serious alternative measures to government as this is neither the time to blame one another nor to have unnecessary differences. We invite both government and the opposition political parties to sit with the labour movement and other stakeholders to explore ways of resolving this crisis before it gets out of hand. Let us employ concerted restoration efforts and save our country from total collapse.

Released by,
Chingati Msiska
ZUFIAW – General Secretary (1st October 2015)

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