This week Hon. Chikwanda released a statement that claims the performance of the economy in 2014 was positive. However, I think we can all see from the way so many Zambians are struggling with the high cost of living, limited employment opportunities and tough service conditions that this has not been the case.
The state of the economy as a result of the PF government is something that needs to be sincerely discussed, not falsely aggrandized.
Yes our economy is growing, but not enough if we are going to deliver everything we need to move Zambia forward. Better education and healthcare are dependent on us managing the economy more effectively, and 6% growth does not cut it for a country like ours so rich in resources and young talent.
In this statement Hon. Chikwanda commented that we had made great strides in the agricultural sector. If this is the case why have our farmers gone unpaid for so long
The other problem with the current growth rate is that it is not trickling down to improve the lives of Zambians across the country. If we are doing so well then why have farmers faced such delays to their payments, why have students gone without their allowances, why have teachers not been provided their rural hardship allowance? Even while we have had this 6% growth, subsidies on fuel and mealie meal have been removed and prices increased sharply. So who exactly is this growth benefitting?
In this statement Hon. Chikwanda commented that we had made great strides in the agricultural sector. If this is the case why have our farmers gone unpaid for so long?
Hon. Chikwanda also spoke about inflation and the government’s pledge to keep it at 6.5% while it is now at around 8%. In fact, under the PF government we have seen food inflation skyrocket from 3.5% in May 2011 to 8.4% in December 2012, something Hon. Chikwanda failed to mention.
Our external debt as of September stood at US$4.7billion, a 34% increase on 2013, whilst our domestic debt stands at K21.9 billion
Hon. Chikwanda also failed to note the strategy to pay back the vast debt accumulated in the PF’s short tenure. Our external debt as of September stood at US$4.7billion, a 34% increase on 2013, whilst our domestic debt stands at K21.9 billion. When you put the level of debt that the PF Government has raised next to the fact that farmers have not been paid, the cost of living has increased, civil servants are facing a wage freeze and we are struggling to invest properly in education, then you have to agree something is seriously wrong.
The bottom line is that in a country so rich with natural resources it is unforgivable that people are still going to bed early, even 50 years after independence. The problem to date has been poor leadership. We can change this on 20 January 2015.
We are pledging to end the cycle of debt, waste and mismanagement and instead focus on supporting our farmers, incentivising local businesses and providing training opportunities for youth – and doing so in a transparent way.
UPND Campaign Manager