The pronouncement by President Edgar Lungu that his Government shall create 500,000 jobs by 2016 is simply nkhani zamu Jameson or indeed nkhani zamu Kachasu because it is totally unattainable looking at the prevailing realities with regards to the economy.
The so called Youth Policy and Action Plan does not even address HOW it will create the 500,000 jobs.
The President has been forced by his spin doctors to say something positive, looking at the fact that every news on the economy has been negative. It is not possible to create 500,000 jobs by 2016 because the National Budget has collapsed and the economy is on its knees.
HERE ARE THE FACTS
1. We have a budget deficit of over 20 Billion Kwacha, translating into almost half of the entire 2014/15 national budget.
2. The Public debt has ballooned to about 10 Billion Dollars from 3.5 Billion Dollars in 2011, representing an increase of about 187%.
3. With the issuance of the 1.25 Billion Dollars EuroBond, the debt levels will go beyond the recommended ”below 40% of the GDP threshold”. This means that as a country we will be spending most of our revenue on servicing public debt as opposed to investing this money in social and economic sectors. This will automatically reduce productivity as we are spending less on the productive sectors of the economy. In fact we are currently spending more than we are earning that is why we have this huge budget deficit and we have so far used about 13.7 Billion Kwacha on an unplanned activities due to the recklessness and fiscal indiscipline of Mr. Lungu and his Paya Future Government.
4. Investors have lost confidence in our country due to the FLAWED and INCOMPETENT manner in which the Paya Future Government is managing our economy. No investor is willing to invest in a sinking economy littered with INCONSISTENT and UNPREDICTABLE Policy pronouncements.
5. Companies are laying off workers and small businesses are folding up due to the MASSIVE LOAD SHEDDING compounded by high cost of doing business due to high fuel prices and high electricity tariffs.
6. Copper outputs and Copper prices have continued sliding down resulting into reduced revenue collection by the State. The country’s coffers are dry and we are surviving on Kaloba.
7. Our trade deficit has gone up as we are importing almost everything. As at May, 2015 our trade deficit was 300 million Dollars. Non traditional exports have declined by 27% in the last 6 months.
8. Kwacha YAGWA. The Kwacha has depreciated by about 59% in the last 6 Months from K4.5 per Dollar to K7.8 per Dollar
9. This PAYA FUTURE Government has not invested in the processing and manufacturing sector of the economy since they came into Government. There is inadequate investment in the productive sector to ensure high productivity, value addition and increased foreign exchange incomes.
These are the facts. So how then does Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu expect to create 500,000 jobs by 2016? He is late! He can’t fool the Zambian people any more. Their don’t Kubeba Gimmick has long expired. The PF can no longer use empty promises to hoodwink the Zambian voters.
If you look at his so called Youth Policy and Action Plan there is nothing new he is talking about. He says he wants to create 500,000 jobs through apprenticeship and internship. How is he going to do that when he has failed to run even a single Public University?
The Trade Schools, colleges and universities are in a state of disrepair. They have a critical shortage of staff, books, equipment, resources centers and other critical teaching and learning implements. There are literally no industries. All we have are shopping malls so how will his purported apprenticeship and internship program going to succeed?
He says he will create jobs by expanding low interest financial facilities targeting youth led businesses. Surely, the President has to be honest with himself. How many youths can access a loan from the bank? What are the requirements do the banks ask for for one to access a loan? What are the interest rates? The bank’s loan conditionalities are cumbersome and very few Youths have the necessary collateral to access loans from our banks.
Even Government-run financial schemes such as the Youth Empowerment Fund and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund have alluded the majority of our youths. These Schemes are inadequate, mismanaged and have highly been politicized. Only PF cadres and their cohorts are benefiting from the Youth Empowerment Fund and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund.
The story of creating 500,000 is indeed ilyashi ya muma Jameson.