Wednesday, May 22, 2024

NAREP’s Position on the removal of subsidies

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REMOVAL OF SUBSIDIES – THE NAREP POSITION

The removal of subsidies on fertilizer, fuel and maize has created serious problems for many ordinary Zambians. This reality seems to be lost on the PF administration. No one is seriously disputing the fact that these subsidies are a huge drain on national resources. No one is doubting that the funds could be more effectively used to develop social and economic infrastructure that could bring about development that would better benefit everyone, including the most vulnerable in our society. The problem is really not so much WHETHER subsidies should be removed but HOW the PF administration should go about doing it and how they will address the needs of ordinary Zambians with the resulting savings.

First of all, the exercise should have been conducted in a way that cushioned the negative impact on those that are struggling to put a meal on their table each and every day. This includes farmers, minibus and taxi drivers, informal sector business owners, rural community dwellers and ordinary workers, all of whom will have to pay more for basic foods and transport.

Secondly, there should have been far better and more continuous explanations about why subsidies need to be removed and what the government is doing to alleviate the pain this will cause in the short and medium term. Many will remember how the late former president Frederick Chiluba went on a tireless campaign to explain the Structural Adjustment Programme to the nation. He was able to get national support for the programme, even though it was painful for many. This would have avoided unnecessary confrontation with innocent university students who are simply voicing the concerns of communities across the country about the hardships they are experiencing.

Thirdly the PF administration must start to show leadership by example. If government is still spending recklessly on consumption then it will mean the majority will have suffered for nothing and we will have saved money only to squander it on a bloated political machinery and civil service (40 per cent of the budget goes towards civil service emoluments), unnecessary by-elections (costing between 10 and 15 billion old kwacha per election), overpricing of single-sourced and badly negotiated contracts (especially on roads).

Currently, the removal of subsidies on fuel has resulted in a salary increases for ministers and deputy ministers because they are paid the cash equivalent of a minimum of 800 litres of fuel per month. Whenever the price of fuel goes up, therefore, they are entitled to receive more money in their pockets. So while the rest of us suffer, PF ministers and deputy ministers are able to cushion the impact of the changes with higher take-home pay. This cannot be right.

Fourthly the government has not demonstrated that it has the discipline required to operate efficiently. For example, the national oil procurement system is conducted in such a way that Zambia ends up paying more for its fuel than other countries in the region. In addition, huge additional and unbudgeted expenditure is being incurred every time the president creates a new district. Creating new districts is not in itself wrong. What is wrong is when this is done in a manner that is unplanned and therefore unbudgeted. This has contributed to the imbalance in the budget and may be part of the reason why there is pressure to remove subsidies in such haste and without proper planning and consultation.

Finally, the PF administration should indicate clearly how the savings will be applied and how the ordinary Zambian will be able to hold them accountable for the spending they are claiming they will now be able to make as a result of the removal of the subsidies. Given the rate at which the campaign promises have been broken, it is important that this time the voters do not sit back and wait for future disappointment while the PF embarks on a spending spree at the expense of properly coordinated development.

NAREP has proposed that in order to alleviate the hardships that will be caused by the subsidy removals and to gain national support on this issue, government needs to lead by example and cut the cabinet to perhaps 15 ministers and reduce the number of deputy ministers from 41 to 15. Right now, there are 41 deputy ministers that each cost approximately 50,000 rebased kwacha (or 50 million old kwacha) per month in pay, allowances and gratuities. This means that every month, we are spending a minimum of 2.5 billion old kwacha on party functionaries that do not really add much value to government operations.

NAREP believes that subsidies have to be removed gradually with full stakeholder consultation and in a manner that promotes disciplined spending behaviour from leaders. The removal of three different subsidies (food, fuel and fertilizer) should not have been done in one go as this has only served to increased the hardships being experienced by many. Cost-saving measures such as the ones we have laid out above should be clearly set out and an accountability process for how the subsidy savings will be spent should be outlined and enforced. A minimum six-month phasing out period should have been considered along with cost-saving measures on fuel procurement that would have resulted in the removal being so gradual that people would not really have noticed the changes and would have had time to adjust to them and support them.

Doing all these things successfully requires wise leadership and a government that truly has a heart for the people. As a Party that is focussed on constructive criticism, NAREP has set out these ideas in the hope that the PF administration will come to its senses and see the harm that is being done to communities across the country that have suffered for far too long.

28 COMMENTS

  1. ati soosa icalo cilekumfwa! this government is a let down to many sensible zambians.
    just like the way they introduced the minimum wage with no consultation whatsoever. ‘preach democracy and lead as dictators’ thats their motto ba Pompwe!

  2. Subsidies likely to make a return at an ‘appropriate’ time. Around 2015/16. A listening government would be concerned how unpopular this move is as it will cost them votes. Explaining is fine but the position on the ground here is that no one understands the sudden move and no one is controlling the resultant rise of pricing which goes well beyond the percentage of removal across the board. This leaves people on the ground seeing everything going up by uncontrolled hefty amounts which are beyond comprehension. That is the real problem.

  3. Dear Mr Chipimo,

    Firstly and want to thank you for the type of politics you are bringing to this country. Zambia can only develop if the people of this country choose to have a leader who has a heart for the people. I see you as a person who can move this country forward. I have a few concerns that I hope you can address for your party.

    1. Make sure you go out and campaign in the rural communities.
    2. Make sure that your party is intact and well know by the people in different communities. You can only do this by having structures in every party of the country.
    3. continue advising the PF government of the promises they made to the Zambian people.

    Thank you Mr President. 2016 we are with you.

    • I agree with you. I support Narep and its constructive politics. But something needs to be done by the party in order to reach the average voter. other than that, I do believe that Narep is the way forward for the country.

  4. Chipimo,
    Thanks you have heart for poor Zambians. what is important is food, please tsubsidies for fertilizer should continue to be provided to the local people please. remember these people are not workers, they are farmers and get paid annually after selling maize. it is through selling maize they send they children to school. Remember government is discouraging farmers in these ways and who will grow these food? who will go to these unversities you are going to build if not only the rich people? who will go to hospitals if not only the rich people, and worker? Because you need to pay in all these areas if you need ant service.
    We got free services during KK reign. May be you can manitain take out on (food, fuel)

    • NAREP waited this long to make their statements on the PF removal of subsidies because they were reading bloggers’ comments on the subject. And here they are plagiarizing bloggers’ comments as NAREP’s original comments. How lame!

    • @Tubulu, that’s TRUE man! Look at the comments of PF cadres who are now agreeing with what Chipimo is saying! Isn’t this the same things the ‘anti PF’ bloggers were saying? So why are these PF cadres now praising Chipimo for issues that have already been blogged to death? Why is Chipimo ‘loved’ for saying things that have made others ‘hated’ for saying the same things first? Are PF cadres Bi-polar mental patients or are they just a bunch of primitive tribalists?

  5. Sometimes i think PF did not know what they were getting themselves into because they have done experiments more than any other goverment. Almost all promises are unfulfilled. Small efficient cabinet, more money in peoples pockets, change within 90 days all those have not worked. And now we are instead being told to tighten our belts back to Kaunda and Chiluba days.

  6. So exactly what is new in his statement.? Bloggers like me have raised the same issues about PF’s wastefulness and selfishness. Laughable that PF cadres are now in agreement simply because it is coming from Chipimo! How shallow can you be?

    • Whether you raised the issue or not, NAREP still has to state its position as a responsible political party with the heart for the people. From years immemorial, 1+1=2, no one will change the answer because you first said the answer is 2…Again, prove that what NAREP has published has been plagiarised – hoping you haven’t re-invented the definition of plagiarism…

    • @Bene Chishi, Every Jim and Jack has complained about Sata’s bloated govt, the 800 litres of fuel Ministers are getting for free plus the money that is been wasted on PF induced bye elections. It is dishonest of you to claim that Chipimo is the first to raise these concerns. The boy is chancer and plagiarist who waits to see where the wind is blowing before he issues his stale statements.

  7. NAREP Do not even attempt to encourage this diabolical act. Put things in context and you would realise that we do not need subsidy removal. There was a commission of inquiry into the ERB and fuel procurement; a report whose findings we still await. Even if details are murky, they are strong suggestions that oil procurement for Zambia is rooted in corruption. Its no accident that Zambia a 3rd world country has some of the highest pump prices of fuel- ranked 21 in the world according to LT. Clearly someone with ‘balls’ needs to take this by its horns and deal with it decisively. Weak hearts with a propensity of being bought should not be handle this. If procurement is more transparent fuel would become cheaper and less would be spent on fuel subsidies.

  8. Very interesting how people easily shower praise on NAREP. The simple question is why has NAREP failed any form of representation as an MP or a councillor? One can easily say that this young man overates himself that he is ready to rule this country. Today, Chipimo is pretending to be with Zambian masses yet for most of his life he did not care what happened to the common Zambian. Elias only came to know things are bad in Zambia when his dear mother passed on (MHSRIP) But are we sure that it needed his mother’s demise for him to know the misery Zambians were going through? Is it true that Elias did not see what people where going through? I am extermely skeptical about this leadership and that is why i will always refer to NAREP as an online party nothing else.

    • that is because Narep does not do sensational politics. we are often moved by politicians who talk too much and shoot down fellow politicians and this is what led to us voting for the PF. I think it is wise to listen to what someone is saying and how they will execute their policies as opposed to the insults that offer entertainment and no action

    • @Chichi, What is new about what NAREP has said? Isn’t this what most bloggers have been saying from the day the subsidies were removed? Go through all Zambian websites and tell us whether NAREP has said anything new. Start with the article on Sata and his cabinet meeting and look at the comments.

  9. Nothing new from narep flip floppers. It’s just copy and paste stealing ideas from bloggers posts.
    Narep is worse than pf because they are indicisive and direction less.

  10. The how as opposed to the whether of subsidy withdrawal is an interesting workshop theme. The ideological battle is won when NAREP also accepts subsidy withdrawal in certain circumstances. What sounds paradoxical is the argument that Cabinet is benefiting from fuel allowance. If the total number of liters of fuel remains constant, then it follows Cabinet remains at the same level of mobility or fuel consumption. Where is the problem? Is it being suggested that Cabinet must park government vehicles? Certainly not. Secondly, Executive has responsibility of utilizing savings for national development. For consistency, it would be better for NAREP to challenge particular projects than infrastructure development program in its conception or implementation.

  11. Indeed, NAREP is a dead party. It has no leadership, no direction, no membership, no MPs, no concillors, not even a convention. These are the parties to be on the look out for. Cut and paste arrangements. Chipimo need to show us leadership otherwise he is just wasting his time.

  12. CHIPIMO IS PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL. EVEN WHEN HE OPPOSES THE GOVERNMENT HE GIVES ALTERNATIVES WHICH ARE WORKABLE. UNLIKE HH WHO IS BITTER ALL THE TIME. ALSO, A GOOD LEADER FIRST LISTENS TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING EVEN TO BLOGGERS, THEN COMMENTS LATER. HH IS NOT LIKE THAT. HE HAS GONE ON AN ALL-OUT ATTACK OF SATA WITHOUT COUNTING THE COST. IT HAS COST HIM HIS POPULARITY TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT EVEN IF THE COST OF M/MEAL INCREASED TO K200/25KG, HH WILL STILL NOT BE POPULAR ENOUGH TO ENTER STATE HOUSE.

    • You and your stupi.d obsession with HH. I hope you will commit suicide in 2016 when HH becomes President. At least We can do away with one uppercase moro.n!

    • You and your stupi.d obsession with HH. I hope you will commit suicide in 2016 when HH becomes President. At least We can do away with one uppercase moro.n! The only ALTERNATIVE to removing subsidies is NOT to remove subsidies. So stop that crap you keep harping on like a broken vinyl record!

  13. NO GOVERNMENT IN THIS THIS WORLD HAS NO FORM OF SUBSIDY FOR ITS CITIZENS TO CUSHION THE IMPACT OF THE HIGH COST OF LIVING. IT IS PRUDENT UPON OUR GOVERNMENT, THEREFORE, TO SIMULTANEOUSLY PUT IN PLACE MEASURES TO PROTECT THE VULNERABLE AND REMOVE SUBSIDIES. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN POVERTY LEVELS NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF ZAMBIA. THE DIRT WE WE RE SEEING NOW ON THE STREETS WILL MORE THAN TREBLE. I HATE TO IMAGINE THE CONSEQUENCES OF REMOVING SUBSIDIES WITHOUT PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE.

  14. Yaba ,you guys have nothing to do. Always looking for sympathy from Zambians. Only subsidy on fuel has been removed, while that for Fertilizer has been reduced from 75 % to 50 %. Maize in the first place had no subsidy but govt used to reduce the price of maize in january , february and March when the millers were likely to increase the price of mealie meal due to the fact that they run out of maize stocks during these months. I dont know why the PF is not explaining this to the people. PF please consult the professionals in the ministries. Dont just speak from without. Have you seen how mwailetelela coz you dont consult?

    Peace and Prosperity to Mother Zambia.

    • Everybody fries chicken, but the way you do it matters. NAREP does the same politics but in a special way others have failed.

      Even if something is good, when untimely introduced it faces objection and resistance.

      The same philosophical set of ideas when presented by different individuals, others tend to be rejected and others accepted.
      Therefore Chipimo has the sound judgement because he analyses out of what he knows.

  15. What! atchi HH president for Zambia! my foot. Baane just go look after cattle, yo speciality. Ba Elias is good on paper politics how many people ve access to internet facilities? you need an average of 20 kwacha to browess internet from a cafe. how many people can afford that. what Narep must do is to attract some big names like makandi, Miyanda & others in their rank & file. Lastly, build the Presidents personal appearance. That ka sick look does not give confidence in some of us.

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