Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba says Zambians are not dumb and that they must speak the loudest on the impending listing of ZAFFICO on the Lusaka Stock Exchange. Speaking on a special interview programme on Radio Mazabuka on Sunday afternoon, Kalaba, a 2021 presidential aspirant, asked why the PF government was planning to list Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) on LuSE.
The Bahati PF member of parliament noted that ZAFFICO was an economic venture for many Copperbelt people who depended on saw-milling and that it could not, for that reason, inter alia, be tampered with.
“It puzzles me because you want to put on the Lusaka Stock Exchange a parastatal like ZAFFICO! ZAFFICO is one of the parastatals that are doing very well; ZAFFICO is a parastatal that has been given to sale the mukula tree, meaning ZAFFICO is getting a lot of money even from the mukula tree. It’s re-capitalising itself and yet you want to sell it! A company like ZAFFICO can even begin bailing out parastatals that are not doing well,” Kalaba said.
“My official position on ZAFFICO is that ZAFFICO should not be sold. That is my sincere belief; ZAFFICO is viable, ZAFFICO is not making losses, ZAFFICO is creating wealth. ZAFFICO has been a life-saver, especially on the Copperbelt, for our saw-millers. So why do you want to sell ZAFFICO? Why do you want to put ZAFFICO on the Lusaka Stock Exchange? You think we don’t know or you think we are dumb?”
The former foreign affairs minister asked the government to emphatically reveal who wanted to invest or buy shares “in a forest.”
“The truth is that you are going to put it (ZAFFICO) on LuSE and you are going to ring-fence the people that are going to be participating in the buying of shares so that those people that you want to buy the shares can buy the shares. We all know who you want to buy those shares! Everybody knows who they (the government) want to buy those shares at Lusaka Stock Exchange,” he explained.
“[But] all I’m saying is that we are not dumb and we will not allow it – we will speak the loudest. There is no way that a company that is viable, a company that you have even given mukula to be generating all the resources can be told to list on LuSE. It’s not right!”
Kalaba appealed to the government to give Zambians a break and to “have pity for our people.”
“These forests are where we are burying our relatives and there are a lot of minerals in those forests that they want to list on the Lusaka Stock Exchange. You think [Dr Kenneth] Kaunda did not think about putting ZAFFICO on LuSE? [Levy] Mwanawasa didn’t think about putting it on LuSE? [Michael] Sata didn’t think about putting it on LuSE? You have just come and you think you can just begin getting national assets instead of value adding to national assets? You want to sell everything! Let’s be serious as a country,” Kalaba said.