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FDD accuse President Lungu of causing further suffering on the already bleeding masses

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File:Forum for Democracy and Development spokesperson Antonio Mwanza stresses a point during the meeting to demand for the release of the draft Zambian constitution

Today President Edgar Lungu called a press briefing were he was expected to give practical solutions to the economic crisis the PF has plunged the nation in. Instead the President used the occasion to cause further suffering on the already bleeding masses by directing ERB and ZESCO to increase fuel prices and electricity tariffs respectively.

The President further put a tombstone on the fate and hopes of miners by confessing that there is completely nothing his Government can do to stop the lose of jobs in the mining sector.

With the impending hikes in fuel and electricity coupled with the massive loadshedding and the depreciating Kwacha the cost of production will escalate resulting into a higher cost of living and further job loses as prices will rise and most companies will have to either prune the labour force or in the worst scenarios completely shut down.

It is now clear to all that President Lungu and his Government have no solutions to the country’s economic problems they have put us in.

Now let us dissect the President’s speech Line by line

1. ON THE DEPRECIATION OF THE KWACHA

The Kwacha has continued to depreciate as a result of the widening fiscal deficit ( caused by the PF Government’s fiscal indiscipline), reduced production and exports ( caused mainly by the crippling load shedding) and the falling copper prices on the international market and loss of investor confidence in the economy (as a result policy inconsistencies and the depreciating Kwacha)

So for as long as the PF continue with their reckless borrowing and spending, for as long as mines and other companies continue to close or scale down their production owing to massive load shedding and escalating cost of production the Kwacha will continue its downward turn.

Increasing interest rates and pumping in borrowed dollars in the economy is not a solution to the depreciation of the Kwacha. In fact it is worse than gambling at a Casino.

2. ON FUEL AND ELECTRICITY

The decision by President Lungu and his Government to increase both fuel and electricity prices is a disastrous move to the economy as it will automatically push prices of essential goods and services and the cost of doing business up. You don’t reduce poverty or fix the economy by increasing the cost of Energy. Energy is to the economy what blood is to the body.

3. ON LOSS OF JOBS IN THE MINES

The President has said that there is nothing that him and his Government can do to save jobs on the Copperbelt.

It is extremely painful that thousands of miners and families are suffering due to the PF Government’s failure to heed to advice. What is happening in the mining sector today is as a result of the incoherent and inconsistent policy direction in the sector on the part of the Government. The PF Government has had no clear policy on mining : be it on taxation or production. The way to save jobs is to fix the Energy crisis, lower electricity tariffs and fix the Kwacha. Unfortunately Mr. Lungu and his Government have no clue on how to deal with that.

It was laughable to hear the President say that his Government has the capacity to run the mines when they have failed to even effectively conduct Grade 9 ICT exams let alone build a toilet at intercity bus terminus.

4. ON LOAD SHEDDING

With the huge power deficit we expected the Government to invest in alternative sources of Energy such as solar, wind and thermal as opposed to continually focusing on hydro power which is hugely dependant on the often undependable rainfall pattern. These alternative sources of energy are cheaper and easy to establish.

We are spending over 13 million dollars per month, importing 148 MW of power from Mozambique and this Government is broke hence this is unsustainable.

5. ON THE ECONOMY

It was unbelievable to hear President Edgar Lungu say that his Government has focused on diversifying from mining to Agriculture as the main economic stay for the country. Really? How can you talk about diversifying to Agriculture when you have been reducing the budget allocation towards Agriculture in the past three years? The allocation towards agriculture in the 2016 budget has hit an all-time low. Actually the President even lied to the nation that all the farmers who supplied maize to FRA have been paid when most farmers are still waiting for their money. Which farmers was he talking about?

6. ON POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND PUBLIC ORDER ACT

It was disheartening to hear the President who is himself a lawyer defend an archaic and repressive law such as The Public Order Act just because it is working in his favour. The Supreme Court of Zambia in a case of Christine Mulundika and others ruled that the Public Order Act in its current form is null and void as it conflicts with fundamental principles of our Republican Constitution.

The Public Order Act and its selective application has contributed to the prevailing discontent, repression political violence and police brutality. Instead of addressing the root causes of political violence which are the selective application of the Public Order Act, wide spread illiteracy, ignorance and destitution among the many youths who are hired by politicians as tools of violence the President reinforced his unconstitutional directive to bar opposition parties from holding public meetings on the Copperbelt.

7. ON THE COST OF RUNNING GOVERNMENT

It was good to hear the President direct a reduction in foreign travels by Ministers. However, that is not enough. We expected significant spending cuts to be instituted such as the abolition of the excess ministries, scraping off of the position of District Commissioner, and the closing of economically and socially insignificant foreign missions.

While we further welcome the President’s directive that no new infrastructure projects should be embarked on, the truth is that there is no money to even pay for the existing projects. This Government owes road contractors and consultants in excess of K3 Billion in unpaid fees. Several infrastructure projects have either stalled or have completely been abandoned as a result of the Government’s failure to pay contractors.

It is now clear that Zambians have to brace themselves for harder times.

Issued by;

Antonio Mwanza,

FDD Spokesperson

16 COMMENTS

  1. Progress.
    Its always good to know Mr Mwanza will issue a statement at the soonest possible time immediately after pronouncements are made, sometimes too early for him to actually understand the importance of certain moves as harsh as they may seem. Tayali chilufya scoles a first here as he stated on his wall that he would need to watch/listen to the speech over so that he could offer constructive suggestions and analysis
    • xaviour
      FDD are correct in their analysis. You dont need WEEKS to see that the press conference was very shallow! There is simply nothing that the PF can offer. What diversification are they talking about when they ridicule agriculture and have not provided fertiliser and seed to most farmers upto now? There is NO PLAN to save ba shimine! Their neighbours South Africa have put measure to save Mine workers, but in ZAMBIA, PF left mine workers on their own! It was all cheap talk! Hope Zambians can start to vote for competent professionals as their leaders.
    • Pretty
      Agree with Mr. Mwanza that Zambians have to brace themselves for harder times. Thank you for taking time, to highlight issues of national importance. Shall continue comparing notes with other analysts of the press conference to get a better understanding Economic challenges in the country. A friend of mine who once said "umu tonga uku tuteka, awe boi" (trans. a tonga to rule us, no my friend) has now changed and is saying mune, bushe HH akakwanisha. Ifintu fyaonauka. Amafuta naleshita pali K6 nomba ni K18. Katwishi mailo anga bakalunda. ( trans. My friend, can HH manage to change things. Things are bad. Lotion which I was buying at K6 is now K18. Am not sure if they will change the price tomorrow. This friend sounded sober that I actually thought she was teasing me when she...
  2. Buju from Nchanga North Manyoni
    Antonio and FDD are desperate chaps with nothing to offer the Zambians. Anyway, let them continue issuing statements that have no effect. issuing a statement without fully digesting the contents of the press briefing and without seeing the effects of that press briefing shows how inept and shallow FDD is. They are just a bunch of brainless individuals. That was a great speech even the master critics, UPND are quite like ground waters.
  3. TheEngineer
    The truth of the matter is that whatever Lungu said today is nothing but trying to catch the horse when its already gone. We all know that most of the road contractors have abandoned these projects except for those which have a corrupt tag to them so that Lungu continues being paid. The Maamba coal fired power station stopped being constructed 6 months ago because government has failed to pay its capital contribution. The contractor stopped the work. The Zambian airline was always going to be a none starter but just hot air from PF. The truth of the matter is when PF called the IMF, the were told that if the do not implement what he said today the was nothing to talk about. The IMF gave them upto March to see implementation. Going forward the measures taken today are the final nail in the...
    • SIDO MARK
      Its the correct summary Prety Zambia is the new Zimbabwe.were morals are no longer important but to preserve one fellow shona in the name Gabriel Bob Mugabe.Useless Zambians will still vote for there tribsmen next no matter how hungry they are.Soon we shall start eating dog meat.Because even the Kachema Musuma will be fade up and relocate to south Africa were they worship him. zambia will remain a country of Mafia and conmen. Poverty and despair will be the order of the day.cry for yourself not HH.Me I have the capacity to fly and stay abroad.
  4. Shibobo
    We are finished. Increase in electricity will increase cost of production. Can't this government see that they are decampaigning themselves? Essentials will go up and as a result people will start rioting. And when they do, it will be blamed on the opposition.
  5. zambia,
    Only some one who who is in sane could bring in Chilufya Tayali 's name in Zsmbia"s economic issues because the boy has no education to understand such apart from being a PF cadre his NGO is a one man shop hand to mouth .
  6. Carelesswhisper
    and you want to make people who have never and have no idea or will to be kachemas. Farrming is a high cost venture. Quite frustrating and needs a dedicated person. I feel sorry for our (brothers and sisters) miners turned farmers due to circumstances not of their own making but that of a collective failure by us who vote for this or that politician without understanding what he can do for this country.
  7. Chitutuma
    Similar conditions were prescribed for Ghana. And now there has been a remarkable upturn in the economic status of Ghana. Just be quiet you moron Mwanza.
  8. SEMEKI
    What diversification in Agriculture is Lungu talking about when a park ( four bags of fertilizer) is shared between two meaning 5kg seed and you expect a bumper harvest? SHAME
  9. MANO MAMBULWA
    BUILDING AN ULTRA MODERN AIRPORT ON THE COPPERBELT WILL BE A SHEER WASTE OF MONEY GIVEN THE SMALL NUMBER OF SMALL PLANES THAT USE THE AIRPPORTS IN ZAMBIA. DO WE HAVE SUFFICIENT INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS TO JUSTIFY SUCH AN AIRPORT OR IS IT A WAY OF STEALING MONEY? IS IT POSSIBLE TO SUDDENLY TURN THE DISMISSED MINERS INTO EFFECTIVE FARMERS WHEN WE HAVE FAILED TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY TOILING IN THE RURAL AREAS? I CONSIDER THESE MEASURES DAY DREAMING ANS JUST AN APPEARANCE TO BE A MAN OF ACTION.

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