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Friday, April 30, 2021

Overcoming the financial crisis

Columns Overcoming the financial crisis

The shortage of mealie-meal has continued to bite in Lusaka and other areas. Here Lusaka residents mob a National Milling Corporation outlet for the commodity
The shortage of mealie-meal has continued to bite in Lusaka and other areas. Here Lusaka residents mob a National Milling Corporation outlet for the commodity
By Pezzy Kudakwashe

We are going through tough times. My heart bleeds for the many innocent Zambians who will go without food during this time of financial crisis. It aches
for those who will die from the combination of disease and the lack of food.

I have a feeling that the majority of Zambians are not aware of the crisis because they live in the remotest areas of the country. However, despite their not knowing of the financial crunch, I suspect that through instinct some of these people can now tell that things are not normal. I am positive that some can adequately sense the food crisis in their general surroundings.

With the odds seemingly working against us, my faith assures me that Zambia could come out of this situation safely, but only if we pull together in one direction as Zambians. Everyone should be involved.

Right now, we could suspend most of the programs targeted by the constituency development fund and redirect the funds towards food security for the constituencies by purchasing and stocking maize for a rainy day. The churches can come out in full support of this program by offering their facilities for food storage. We see in the Bible how God used Joseph to create food reserves crucial in a time of crisis. The schools can also chip in by stocking food provided through the diversion of constitutional funds. At this point, we need food security more that buildings.

It is time we Zambians began to deliberately take steps aimed at serving our fellow citizens. We have the ability to plan for a better future. It is time the political parties, the churches, schools, civic organizations, and every honest Zambian came together to build one healthy Zambia, as was tried in the past by our first president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, as evidenced by his slogan, “One Zambia, One Nation.”

Such an ambitious program can be done.

For the first time, we could see every Zambian church and denomination plough back the funds contributed by their members to provide Sunday meals for its needy people. What would it profit the church to keep a fat bank account while people were dying of hunger? What if, as Zambians, we turned Saturday or Sunday into a day when those who can afford an extra meal (not only the rich) could feed one extra, hungry person? Why can’t we reach a day when those with two coats can resolve to give one coat to another? Wasn’t this the message that Jesus preached? If only Zambians could come together and help each other for the sake of Mother Zambia, this depression would have a lesser effect on our nation.

We cannot wait for the government to provide. It has failed us in the past and is still failing us by allowing drug stores to distribute expired drugs to our sick and by allowing smugglers to sell our much-needed maize at the expense of the voiceless Zambians. The government has failed us by awarding itself huge salaries at the expense of good health care for its own citizenry. It has failed us by spending millions of dollars importing luxury vehicles at the expense of allowing dubious transporters to run defected passenger fleets that are killing our people daily on Zambia’s roads.

It’s time for every ordinary citizen to raise up and help a fellow Zambian. Let’s get back to the real Zambian culture, where young people can help the elderly without expecting anything in return. It’s time we began to value Zambian life more today than ever before.

25 COMMENTS

  1. The Financial crisis has brought more harm than good and dnt see the last paragraph of the Aticle been achieved at all at all.

  2. Sunds like socialism. We all know for certain that great demands will be placed on all of us in future and we all must be ready to put our shoulders to the wheel, whether we like it or not.

  3. Before I read, just a short comment to 1984. Frankly, I am tired of that same comment you regurgitate on a daily basis on this blog. You keep on telling us about problems but that is not what people want to hear.

    We all know what the problems are and we have heard of the problems. We have all been warned about the hard times coming.

    We are tired of hearing about problems. We want to hear SOLUTIONS. So the next post you make should consist of solutions to problems and not telling us about problems. We want to hear solutions so please offer your solutions on the table.

  4. #5 and 6
    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.
    Then they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a Jew.
    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out for me.

  5. 1984

    So you cannot offer any solutions??

    If you cant offer any solutions then what is the point of you repeating that same slogan of your every single day??

  6. Now coming to the article.

    I agree with what you said about helping each other but on food security, I offer an alternative solution.

    In my opinion, the reason food security is so poor is because we rely to much on the state determined price. If the price is high, villagers rejoice because they can afford various necessities whilst city dwellers complain because of high mealie meal prices. If the price is too low, city dwellers rejoice due to the low mealie meal price whilst villagers are poor due to the low maize price. [tbc

  7. cont.]

    A solution to this would be to subsidize the crop (maize) but this will lead to single crop dependency (if that even makes sense). If the maize crop fails, the whole country starves.

    Now I have read around where various officials are urging farmers to diversify but this is not possible if govt is offering a 100% subsidy. It is either they grow maize or they grow tobacco and tobacco cannot feed us.

    In order to ensure food security and diversify our food diet as well as the diversification of the agriculture sector, I propose the following:

  8. 1.] The FRA must be changed into the Grain exchange. This will be a body that will provide the means for farmers and buyers to meet and make various exchanges based on supply and demand.

    2.] Govt must also announce the floor price for alternative crops like wheat, cassava, millet, etc. This is to speed up crop diversification.

    3.] The floor prices must be determined through prudent estimations on how much is needed to cover the local food security and how much govt plans to sell abroad after catering for local food needs.

    4.] Govt must only buy from farmers in the most remotest areas whereas those in close proximity go through the grain exchange.

    5.] Incentive structure for agro-processing companies.

    These are some of my proposals.

  9. Free Market Capitalist, I’ve been saying the same thing to 1984 for a while and now I just gave up because he seems to be lost in his own world of recitations.
    Instead of laying down strong arguments with clear explanations or thoughtful analysis, all he does is just copy & paste what other minds have uttered.
    George Orwell, Tony Blair & Ban Ki Moon are right in their own world view, BUT who are you? And what have you done to contribute to Zambia’s problems?? Answer us please Mr. 1984!

  10. Oops, my last sentence on#15 should read “..what have you done to contribute to finding the solutions to Zambia’s problems?”

  11. #16Nine Chale

    Have you ever wondered why it is that when you elect a politician to power,he never seems to keep his pre-election promises?Why is this?

  12. #5,6,7,9
    You have cracked my ribs.. I will soon have to rush to the doctor as I will have none left. lol

  13. Free-Market-Capitalist, I totally agree with you on the call for solutions, but not so much on the introduction of subsidies. As a free-market-capitalist I expected you to call for a policy that does not hide the real cost of a commodity or transfer weight to the taxpayer. Alternatively, as a move to lower food prices move permanent I would propose that the cost of conducting business in agric should be lower.
    Specifically, use fund for roads, water irrigation, new agric techniques and accessibility markets instead of on endless subsidies.

  14. Too many Workshops (talkingshops) whose resolutions and recommendations end up gathering dust on shelves have been the most wasteful and abused activity by government. And the so-called world experts on finance have also driven the world economy into ruin. So who do we turn to?? Simply, COMMON SENSE. Make credit cheap and affordable. Spend money on Infrastructure development; roads, rail, etc and not workshops. Barter copper for cheap agriculture machinery with countries like China, ultimately attracting them into establishing factories to produce the equipment locally. Discourage companies from exporting raw materials but instead help them set up factories to process local raw materials into finished products through targeted legislative incentives and tax breaks.

  15. Socialism can work in times of crisis. Capitalism is what has brought us this far. Capitalism promotes greet and stinginess. Nice article Pezzy.

  16. Just to add on, Kaunda’s Rural Reconstruction programme needs serious rethink and to be re-established. Agro Companies like Dunavant lend farmers imputs and collect produce at harvest as payment. Using the same method, these companies need to be encouraged to set up heavy agro equpment depots in districts for hire to the farmers they lend imputs to to maximise land utilisation. Govt could also let ZNS offer a parrallel service.

  17. True the Egyptians had to stock up food for the future 7 year faminine after Josephs’ interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream by God’s direction but the important thing to note is that they worked to stock up that food. Food had to be produced. Currently Zambia has food shortage and so I do not think it would work in the long run. One of the major roles of the Churches is to help the need and so I expect them to be doing that already if genuine. Helping one another is great but going by the current situation in Zambia we will all run out of provisions soon. Firstly be proud to be Zambians and move away from selfishness and lack of foresight. Put in place sustainable measures of job creation and oust the cancerous unproductive attitudes we currently possess. Protect Zambian resources…

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