By Anthony Bwalya (UPND Member)
Under the brutal administration of the Patriotic Front (PF), 25% of the starting salary of ALL new graduates is already committed to repaying your student loan. This is before you pay 37.5% in PAYE, subjected to a consumption tax of 16% and an unabating inflation rate of 14%.
The United Party for National Development (UPND) maintains the position, that a K1 is worth more when left in the hands of citizens than in the hands of the government, not just the PF, but any government for that matter.
The trouble with the PF tax based economy is that the money they are drawing from the public is being used to funnel corruption and targeted looting rather than improving the quality, standards and delivery of crucial public services such as education, health or infrastructure. This is what we have witnessed with the abuse and total lack of transparency and accountability around the recovery of students’ loans, skills levy, road toll fees and now the National Health Insurance scheme.
How can or should the Zambian public trust that NHI money is going into public healthcare when COVID19 money is publicly, and without shame or any exercise of common sense, being appropriately to road construction?
This is why a UPND administration plans to re-evaluate the recovery of students’ loans, and instead focus on expanding employment and income generating opportunities for young graduates by rebuilding the economy. This means the current, nonsensical process of punishing young men and women straight out of college and university should and will have to be suspended until we have done enough work to expand opportunities for young people to earn a good wage, inflation down to single digits and personal taxation, as well as pensions reforms have been delivered on as a means to expand microeconomic support to our people.
We are all paying for the unprecedented, premeditated leveraged corruption of the PF regime which has sucked around $12.6bn out of the economy and into the pockets of PF officials, their private sector allies and PF operatives.
In 2021, we must reclaim our country, and I am especially calling on all students and young graduates to play your part and be a part of the generational change our country so desperately needs.