Opposition FDD says the stubbornnes exhibited by Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda and his PF cohorts is aimed at protecting their extravagance. PF has the largest number of cabinet ministers and permanent secretaries in the 50 years of Zambia’s independence.
FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza said that Dr. Chikwanda’s revealation that 75% of the revenue collected was used to finance wages was shocking because a bigger chunk of that money was consumed by ministers and other constitutional office bearers through huge allowances and high cost of maintaining their state of art vehicles.
Mwanza said only a smaller chunk of the revenue was left to be distributed among civil servants, and that the wage freeze meant that the poor government workers and the nation were subsidising the ministers’ lifestyle. The opposition leader also advised the Finance minister to devise better ways of collecting revenue, and also cut down on the expenditure of the executive. Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda, in his 2015 budget maintained the wage freeze and has refused to lift it during post budget discussions.
While salaries of ministers and other constitutiuonal office holders have been increased, PF MPs recently defeated a parliamentary motion moved by UPND to lift the wage freeze. The move has forced the labour movement and opposition UPND to plan a series of country wide demonstrations to compel the PF to rescind the decision.