What Government can buy with that $210m

By Wesley Ngwenya

The recent revelations by the Zambian Watchdog that the Zambian Government is about to spend $210 million dollars on surveillance equipment is extremely shocking. Shocking because the country is in dire need to public services such as roads, schools clinics, clean water and so on.

In the last few months while the Zambian Government was busy working on scamming its people with the Chinese, the city where I live was busy sealing the deal with local and national contractors. What was the deal—to build a 55 storey state-of-the-art building downtown? What was the cost—you guessed right, 200 million dollars? Just a few years ago, the same Chinese the government is trying to contract were able to build the 20 Storey African Union Headquarters for the same 200 million dollars. So, why does the government think they can con us and steal right in front of our eyes?

To help the government out, I have come up with an alternative way of spending the 200 million dollars. You see, with that kind of money you can really do some serious shopping. Here you go.

  1. 10 new primary schools in rural Lusaka at a cost of $20,000 each ($200,000).
  2.  8 new clinics in rural Lusaka at a cost of $40,000 each (320,000) Total is $520,000.

If we do the same thing in Western, Southern , Central, Eastern, Luapula, Northern, North-western, Muchinga and Copperbelt we would spend a total of $5.2million.

  1. 10 new secondary schools can be built in each of the 10 provinces for the cost of $100,000 per school totalling 10 million dollars.
  2. Build 100 small dams in towns across the country as a source of clean water and electricity generation as well as recreation at a cost of $50,000 per dam giving us a total cost of $5 million

Do I even need to continue with the shopping list? So far, only about 20 million dollars have been spent, leaving us with 180 million dollars. Now that’s a lot of change that you can do damage with. For instance, part of the money can be used for rural electrification and another part can be used to ensure clean water in major cities.

According to this year’s budget Alex Chikwanda allocated $255 million dollars for electricity generation and transmission nationwide. If in the national budget government thinks that they can do massive projects with just over $200 million dollars how come now is costing the same to put cameras around the city of Lusaka?

My humble advice to the government is to immediately abandon the surveillance project and focus on real projects that benefit the majority of Zambians. Please do the right thing.



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