24 September 2015
A few weeks ago, we predicted, rightly so, and warned our colleagues in the PF that the measure to inject billions of borrowed Eurobond money to stabilise the free falling Kwacha was not sustainable and risked doing more damage to our economy. As usual they didn’t listen let alone heed our advice.
They ignored our proposal of alternative policies as they have been doing throughout their four years in office.
We think we can no longer waste our energy giving our colleagues advice and sharing ideas on alternative policies when they clearly have no ability to hear. Their preoccupation is to distract the public through by-elections, intimidation and personal insults and empty rhetoric.
For some of us who grew up in the village, we remember how parents would often tell their children to stay away from fire because it was dangerous. But there were times when parents deliberately allowed a naughty child to touch the fire and feel how it burns. In that painful situation, the child would never play with fire again.
This is the kind of PF regime we are dealing with that does not listen to advice, especially on key economic policy issues that unfortunately are harming the entire citizenry including relatives of those in power.
As we predicted and forewarned, the Kwacha is again on its journey to more worthless levels, not only against the US dollars, but against other African currencies as well where governments have put in measures to stabilise their economies.
This once more proves what we have been saying; that the Kwacha fall is largely our local unpredictable and inconsistent economic policies coupled with the PF appetite to recklessly spend on unproductive ventures that do not add value to the economy. Expenditure in the productive sector like agriculture can create much-needed jobs for our youths.
It does not surprise us that the continued Kwacha depreciation comes less than one week after President Edgar Lungu addressed parliament on what is supposed to be his economic vision, but it is clear the markets do not have confidence in his leadership, they have even reacted more negatively than against other African countries.
So far, a number of our neighbouring countries have passed on the benefits of the falling crude oil prices on the world market by reducing the fuel prices and consequently lowering the cost of doing business and thereby lowering prices of commodities for the benefit of their people.
That measure alone has reignited their productive sectors, making their exports more competitive, and creating jobs for their people as a result. But here we are doing the exact opposite.
Actually, we would not be surprised that fuel prices in Zambia will soon again be increased and further harm to the production sectors and greater job losses will be the result.
One thing we know for sure is that with the unpredictable business and economic environment following the continued falling Kwacha, prices of essential commodities will keep rising way beyond the reach of our people.
Unfortunately, even our agricultural inputs will this year be more expensive than previously, making our produce less competitive for exports.
In short, as Zambians it is time to brace ourselves for hard economic times and more job losses, while a few keep enjoying government travel allowances, inflated government contracts, and government jobs through increase in the number of ministries, the majority of us are barely making ends meet.