Works underway on top of the main bridge across the Zambezi River on the Mongu-Kalabo Road Project.
Works underway on top of the main bridge across the Zambezi River on the Mongu-Kalabo Road Project.

By Kalima Nkonde

Most Zambians do not understand the main reason why our economy has deteriorated astronomically in the last four years and are unable to put a finger on one major cause. There are a myriad of reasons that have been advanced including external factors like the collapse of copper prices and the strength of the dollar. It is undeniable that these external factors have contributed to some extent but they have not been the main causes of the collapse of the economy because other countries have not been affected to the same extent as Zambia. Critical and comparative analysis of the numbers especially in terms of percentages, show a totally different picture. Numbers do no lie!

Many experts disagree with the PF’s attribution of the poor economy to global factors .They argue that it is more of poor economic management across the board because the numbers do tell the full story as former MMD Finance Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane correctly observed in his November, 2015 paper.

“Even without copper related problems, Zambia would still have faced serious economic and foreign exchange crisis. They should not blame everything on drought and low copper prices. A global economic crisis which resulted in even lower copper prices than they are today occurred also between 2008 and 2009 but things did not deteriorate as they have done this year. Concrete measures then were taken that minimized the negative effects of the crisis”, he said.

In the light of global factors not being the main cause of our problems, I have isolated the ambitious, massive infrastructure programme and the road construction in particular as the single most important cause of Zambia’s economic problems. The ambitious infrastructure programme has contributed to the budget deficit, huge public debt, kwacha depreciation, high inflation, high interest rates, economic corruption and the loss of investor confidence. The negative percentages economic changes are abnormal and indefensible by any rational knowledgeable person as most them are above hundred percent which is a rarity in well managed economies! I will demonstrate how, in simple terms, in this article.

Economy in 2011

When the PF administration came into power in 2011, they found an economy awash with cash reserves and high credit rating which made it easy to borrow on the international capital market. They went on a spending and borrowing binge. To them, all previous administrations were ‘foolish’ not to ‘develop’ Zambia! They forgot that the good economy they found was a result of prudent macro economic management by the MMD.

The PF, it appears, had one dimensional approach to economic management and adopted management by wishes as a strategy. They embarked on an ambitious, massive infrastructure programme without thinking about where the money will come from and the effect such a programme will have on the other economic variables! As former Botswana President Sir Ketumile Masire put it in his Memoirs,

“Both politics and economics involve choices, and a President must understand the consequences of economic as well as political choices.”

President Sata and his team clearly did not! Most economic observers wondered how economically prudent the PF policy was, as Dr. Brian Chituwo, a former Minister in the MMD government observed in the Post Newspaper of 28 July,2015.

“They tried to bring a populist type of governance. Were the issues of creating districts well thought out and planned for, within the ability of Treasury to pay?  Our country has been committed to massive infrastructure development as if Zambia is ending tomorrow!”

Dr. Brian Chituwo’s sentiments have been supported by many enlightened observers like the former Finance Minister in the MMD government, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, who observed how the PF’s apparent chaotic approach to infrastructure development had destroyed the economy. “From 2011, the PF embarked on many infrastructure projects without sound planning and regard to the sustainable availability of financial resources to do so. Construction of new universities has been declared without planning.

Similarly, construction of new districts, roads, sports stadia have been declared also without plans. This has resulted in rapid accumulation of both domestic and foreign debt, which will soon become difficult to service,” Dr. Situmbeko, lamented.

PF motivation for infrastructure programme

The impression one gets is that the motivation for these projects was not entirely economical but rather political and personal by the Party Leader, the late Mr. Michael Sata. The programme could be said to be politically motivated in that it was tied to the electoral cycle of the 2016 election, and thus the hurry! The programme, therefore, was not being done in good faith! It could also have been personal, in that Mr. Sata gave the impression of being obsessed with his legacy by outdoing all the previous Presidents of Zambia, especially his nemesis, the late President Levy Mwanawasa. The fact that the late President Chiluba and President Kaunda are on record as having said Mr. Michael Sata was not Presidential material and needed to be under supervision, must have been a major motivating factor for him to change the face of Zambia in record time and prove every body, who had a low opinion of him, wrong!

How massive infrastructure contributed to budget deficit

The ambitious, massive infrastructure programme especially the roads, have contributed to the huge budget deficit. According to civil engineering experts, a 1km tar mark road’s cost can range from $1.2m to $2million dollars depending on the terrain and specification in terms of quality (K13.2 million – K22million per Km). It means that to construct a 500Km road; the cost could be as high as $1billion (K11billion)! Owing to the huge costs involved in road construction projects, there is no doubt that it has been a major contributing factor to the huge budget deficit. Zambian roads are said to cost more than similar roads elsewhere due to corruption and cost overruns as the Road Development Agency (RDA) Report to President Lungu, quoted by the Post newspaper in 2015 noted.

“Owing to the urgency with which government wanted to commence the works, Phase1 of the Link Zambia 8000 Programme had commenced on a design and build basis. This implied that detailed designs were not in place by the time of tendering. The accelerated method of road construction works exposed the Agency to high risks of cost escalations due to the fact that the real scope, cost and time frame of the projects were unknown. In the absence of adequate project preparation at the planning and design stage and stringent fiscal discipline during project implementation, cost escalation on road projects are bound to increase further,” the RDA report explained.

The budget deficit at half year was 135% above budget at K20 billion instead of K8.5billion and infrastructure projects must have contributed a great deal to the deficit than any other expenditure budget line item.

Infrastructure projects and the high public debt

The Government embarked on infrastructure projects without money to fund it. They, therefore, embarked on excessive borrowing from China and the international capital market. This has resulted in increasing the foreign debt from $1.2 billion when the PF took over in September, 2011 to $6.05 billion in July, 2015 which is an increase of 404% in four years! The excessive borrowing both local and foreign has affected the economy as the government needs to money to service these debts.

The Government will have to cut expenditure including removal of subsidies like on electricity, fuel, farming inputs etc. We would have given the PF a lot credit if they had built infrastructure projects with a higher proportion of internal resources especially from mining houses like smart countries like Botswana and Namibia have done! One cannot boast about bringing the so called development at the back of huge borrowings; anybody can do that!

If PF had devised innovative internal revenue generation measures to build the roads, bridges, schools, hospital etc, then most of us will be praising them as they would have been seen to have used their brains. Also, if a higher proportion of the borrowed billions of dollars had been invested in the agriculture, tourism and energy sectors, the money would have generated more revenue for future infrastructure developments, created more jobs, generated foreign exchange, diversified the economy in a shorter period of time and we would have been better off than we are now!

Infrastructure, Kwacha depreciation and inflation

The infrastructure projects have resulted in the loss of the value of the kwacha in two ways. First and foremost, the budget deficit that infrastructure expenditure caused has led to Zambia’s credit rating being downgraded. This consequently led to loss of investor confidence which negatively impacts on the value of the currency. In addition, the infrastructure projects have been done mainly by foreign contractors who have had to externalize foreign currency once they are paid. The demand by foreign contractors for foreign currency has put the kwacha under tremendous pressure and contributed to its massive depreciation from K4.86 when PF took over in 2011 to K11.00 as at the end of December, 2015 which is a depreciation rate of 126%! The negative contribution of foreign contractors to the kwacha depreciation was echoed by Special Assistant to the President for Project implementation and Monitoring, Lucky Mulusa when he addressed Mission Staff in Pretoria, South Africa in September, 2015.

“Road Contracts which are in the hands of Chinese Companies have also contributed to the shortage of foreign exchange in the country as most of the money paid to them is taken out of the country,” he said.

The infrastructure programme is also major contributing factor to the increase in inflation through the depreciation of the kwacha given that Zambia is an import oriented economy. Zambia’s inflation closed at 21.1% for the year 2015, the highest in many years!

Infrastructure and investor confidence

When Zambia entered the Euro- bond market, it meant that we were under observation by the international market and rating agencies. The flawed way that the PF was implementing the massive infrastructure projects did not go unnoticed! The result of the mismanagement was a huge budget deficit which forced the rating agencies like Standard and Poor, Moody’s, Fitch to down grade Zambia’s credit rating. Consequently, investor confidence in Zambia plummeted! Infrastructure projects, therefore, can directly be linked to the loss of investor confidence.

President Lungu, did in a way, indirectly admit to the fact that the ambitious infrastructure development programme has been a major cause of the problems in the economy and he wanted to correct it as he noted at the State House Press conference.

“In the light of economic challenges, the financing of the ambitious infrastructure development programme has to be re- aligned. All Government Ministries, Provinces and spending Agencies should cease the procurement of, or entering into contracts for new works including the road sector. All Government Ministries, Provinces and Spending Agencies to engage Attorney General to review committed projects signed but not yet commenced with view to defer where appropriate. And regarding on going road projects, in particular, the Ministry of Works and Supply shall embark on a phased approach to implementation of road projects over a longer period.”

Importance of infrastructure

There is no one who is against the building of infrastructure as it is a vehicle for economic development but it has to be well thought out, measured, properly planned, sequentially implemented and prudently financed. This was not the case with the PF infrastructure development programme and thus it has come at a great cost to the country. The PF Government should not be faulted at the intention for building infrastructure but the programme should not be motivated by economic populism but rational economic decision making. The mistakes they made were: no proper planning, risk management and cost benefits analysis was done resulting in wrong priorities, cost overruns and consequently the huge deficit. In addition, there were no proper financing strategies resulting in neither huge debt nor local capacity resulting in kwacha depreciation and no discernible multiplier effects to the economy from the massive projects with most borrowed funds finding their way outside and Zambia just being a transit for borrowed funds.

The development of a country has to be properly planned as Sir Kitumile Masire, the former President of Botswana noted in his memoirs.

“We knew that without water supplies, education, roads or communications, we could not establish enterprise that would employ people productively. But things had to be done in logical sequence. I explained that if we spent money too rapidly, given our limited capacity to implement projects, we will just drive up costs of projects and caused more inflation. We quickly realized that we should have a document that related the projects and placed them in order of priority as we decided which roads to complete and tar mark. We should not decide things as they came up. We felt there was a clear need for a road map, so we would know where we were going.”

It is clear that the PF did not follow what Botswana and other smart countries do, when embarking on development projects. Zambia’s infrastructure development process was poorly managed at all stages from conception, planning, procurement, financing, implementation and monitoring and evaluation thus the economic mess and the mountain of debt it has created which is slowly but surely drowning Zambians.

Although we may be enjoying moving on the good roads in the short term, and there is no doubt that the ruling Party will use it as a campaign issue in 2016 election by boasting that they have brought ‘development’ but the price that the country has paid and will continue paying is rather high as the programme was not properly carried out! Numbers do not lie!

The price that Zambia has paid for the ambitious, massive infrastructure programme include: an increase in foreign debt by 404%, a total public debt of $9.75billion, the depreciation of the currency by 126% in four years, movement into double digit inflation to 21.5% from 7.7% which is a 179% increase, forecast budget deficit of 14% of GDP, 135% deficit above budget at half year in 2015 ,credit rating downgrade by Standard and Poor and Fitch to B which is a junk status and thus below investment grade! Is this price worth it? I certainly do not think so, thus my view that the ambitious and massive Infrastructure Programme has been a Poisoned well!

Poisoned well in the sense that infrastructure has been toxic to the economy such that instead of nourishing the economy, it has contaminated it, resulting in having the opposite effect of destroying the economy, at least in the short term! The ambitious infrastructure programme has created four deadly diseases for Zambians economically which I have designated as the 4Ds – Deficit, Debt, Depreciation and Depression.

CONCLUSION

As with my previous articles, the motive of this article is meant to share knowledge with those in power and also those who are not in power as well as with the general public. It is not meant to demonize anybody. Unfortunately, since my return back home, I have noticed a culture of not accepting constructive criticism and thereby learn from it across the political divide. I have rightly or wrongly attributed this dysfunctional behavior to my 4s- education, experience, exposure and esteem issues. The result of not accepting constructive criticism is the unmitigated defence mechanism and the exhibition of lack of self confidence and a cover up for inherent inferiority complex .

This is in contrast with what I have observed elsewhere; the case in point being the USA 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Mrs. Hillary Clinton, who believes according to her latest memoirs, ‘Hard Choices’, that if you choose to be in public life, grow skin as thick as rhinoceros and learn to take criticism seriously but not personally.

“Your critics can actually teach you lessons your friends can’t or won’t. I try to sort out motivation for criticism whether partisan, ideological, commercial, or sexist, analyze it to see what I might learn from it, discard the rest,” she rationalizes. I guess the difference in our politics is that ours are politics of poverty rather than public service.

The writer is a Chartered Accountant by profession and a financial management expert. He is an independent and non partisan commentator/analyst. He has lived in the diaspora in England, South Africa and Botswana for over 25 years.

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56 COMMENTS

    • ZAMBIA NEEDS GREAT SACRIFICES TO DEVELOP. SOMETIMES EVEN FAMILIES NEEDS SUCHLIKE SACRIFICES TO PULL THEMSELVES FROM DUST. WHATS THE POINT OF HAVING MONEY IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY AND STILL LOOK IMPOVERISHED? ZAMBIA’S ECONOMY WAS BETTER UNDER MMD BUT WHAT DID THAT ECONOMY ACCOMPLISH, CAN WE POINT AT ANYTHING TODAY?

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    • Kikikiki……….this Kalima is clueless…………when comparing Zambia to Botswana did you take into account how much revenue their govnt gets from the mines against what our govnt gets because of privatisation? I can see your low self esteem/inferiority complex by you telling us that you lived in the UK. Figures won’t do anything for us, we want tangible results which the PF is doing. Viva ECL.

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    • A country’s indebtedness is measured as a percentage of the government’s debt to its GDP. The following are some countries’ percentages to their GDPs as of December 2014: USA-102.98%, China-41.06%, Japan-230%, UK-89.4%, Uganda-34%, ZAMBIA-31.00%, Botswana 23.10%, Malawi-18%, Mozambique-55%, Zimbabwe-77%, Kenya-49.80%, South Africa-39%. All countries borrow, some more than others like the USA and Japan. Unlike in the past when the money borrowed was used for consumption like mealie meal coupon with run down infrastructure the money has been well spent on infrastructure. Of course I cannot rule out that some money has been stolen but this was the case even when money was spent on consumption. Let him tell us Zambia’s indebtedness.

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    • I cant believe my eyes! Senior Engineer is agreeing with PF! Am I seeing right! At last the PF does something positive that Senior Engineer notices. All of you PF cadres pounce on this and make it part of your campaign strategy! Awe chawama chasokona!

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    • @Waste of time. Senior Engineer is not yet blind with age. He can still see the unprecedented infrastructure development but that does not make him a PF supporter. It is the duty of any party in government to develop the country. I believe in arguing objectively. I just can’t see how excessive borrowing has made the US$ very strong, the price of copper down etc. Give me the connection.

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  1. It’s the story of human greed and selfishness, a reason why PF should be voted out of power, come August 11, 2016. Yes, they had a vision. But their vision was centered on how to make their pockets fat.

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    • are you aware that in Zambia u don’t ‘vote out’ the party u don’t like,instead u vote for the party who u think will do better than the one which is ruling.so provide options and explain how differently they will achieve developmental goals,peradventure u might win some minds.

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    • @ Sobriety

      In the past Zambians have voted for change, purely for the sake of it. Ask UNIP and MMD. They will be able to fill you in on this one. Let not PF delude themselves.

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  2. Cabinet ministers like chishimba kambwili can’t understand this.The only thing they know is it’s global,everywhere the economy has gone bad.

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  3. Kalima Nkonde has said well what commentators of similar calibre have said repeatedly. He attributes the nasty current economic situation to the 4Es i.e. poor education, poor experience, low exposure and VERY low self esteem issues. Here Kalima should have stated categorically that PF leaders appear to have serious deficit of critical thinkers ready to challenge the unorthodox approach to simple macroeconomic theory. This is truly due to worship of the late Sata such that even the educated among them were timid and too cowardly to challenge Mr. Sata. There are some here who will swear that these failures amount to nothing. Yet these same failures led to the downfall of UNIP. How history repeats itself! Thank you Mr Nkonde.

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    • Wow! Agreed but Kalima Nkonde does not want to be seen partisan and leaves it to the reader to make further informed analyses. The article indeed improves understanding on how we have got where we are. The paragraph headlines “PF motivation of infrastructure program” still holds true for Lungu who without personal vision has issues too regarding general perception that he became president by default and does not make the grade. His presidential legacy will still be tainted with his dealings as an untrustworthy lawyer when it surfaced he pilfered with clients money. Thus the adoption of the “Sata vision” for a low opinion redemption and re-electability.

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  4. The article is contradictory and downplays the impact of the global economy and attributes the road projects as the main issue. There is no analysis on the medium or long time impact of these projects. The tolling project has not been highlighted either. One wonders what the true aim of such a biased article is. Can a debt analysis as a % of GDP of all SADC countries be shown so that people can judge for themselves if truly our debt is unsustainable. Hope the Author appreciates the constructive feedback. Try to balance facts in future. In phase two I actually would advise PF to build more manufacturing industries…we need alot more not less projects

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    • Building an industrial base should have been phase one. This is where the money to pay borrowed money will come from.

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    • @The Future. I find your level of education very high contrary to what one blogger has said. How much is too much debt? The accepted standard of measuring a country’s indebtedness is the country’s debt divided by the GDP expressed as a percentage. Zambia has a debt/GDP % of 31% and yet the Japanese with a percentage of 230% still fund some projects in Zambia. Even Botswana the author is praising also borrows at 23% and Zambia is only 8 percentage points above it. Is the author saying that the economic woes have been brought about by excessive borrowing which is acceptable by international standards? It is borrowing that has brought the price of copper down?

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  5. The article is contradictory and downplays the impact of the global economy and attributes the road projects as the main issue. There is no analysis on the medium or long time impact of these projects. The tolling project has not been highlighted either. One wonders what the true aim of such a biased article is. Can a debt analysis as a % of GDP of all SADC countries be shown so that people can judge for themselves if truly our debt is unsustainable. Hope the Author appreciates the constructive feedback. Try to balance facts in future. In phase two I actually would advise PF to build more manufacturing industries…we need alot more not less projects

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  6. Robust infrastructure is the foundation of national development generally and economic prosperity in particular. It is wrong to make sweeping statements about the negative effects of robust infrastructure without providing alternatives. UNIP built only one university in the First Republic. That had nothing to do with prudent fiscal management. Rather it was a policy option to hold back the country in exchange for political hegemony. Come the Second republic, the same UNIP built one university. The total for the UNIP era was two universities in 30 years of UNIP misrule. MMD ruled for over 20 years. It only built one PPP university. That was a policy option in favor of private universities. What PF is doing is to reverse past injustices in educational policy and public health policy.

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  7. Borrowing is a recognized means of raising capital. Are you arguing that borrowing is morally unacceptable or legally indefensible? At a personal level, what you do with your money is a private matter. In the political arena, the decision to borrow to fund development projects is policy issue. It is founded on the determination to accelerate the pace of development in order to reverse past injustices related to underdevelopment. The type of loan-free society that is being presented as an alternative only exists in certain corners of of primitive societies.

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    • Kasonde, read the article again.

      Borrowing per se is not the issue. It is the planning and utilisation of the borrowed funds that Sata and his PF failed to do that has brought Zambia economically to its knees.

      Previous governments established a good credit rating for the country, and PF used that to obtain credit. But financial discipline has been non existent and the countries ability to service this huge debt was not even taken into account.

      Satas legacy is an unbearable burden of debt and interest for future generations that WILL KEEP ZAMBIANS POOR FOR DECADES TO COME.

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    • Iwe Makasa,dont use funny empty jargon here. The point about roads is valid. Money borrowed for roads does little in being a multiplier effect if all the Chinese do is to buy road works material from China as much as possible, and when they are paid, the Lending banks in China simply transfer the funds into the Chinese Contractors’ accounts and the money does not step a foot in Zambia. I hope you see sense.

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  8. This article is political balderdash. We may have short-term budget deficits, but robust infrastructure such as we have witnessed under PF is way the forward for long term economic growth. We might have had healthy foreign reserves under MMD, but loom at the cost to the economy of poor roads, schools, health facilities etc. I was ashamed to be a Zambian when I had to carry my daughter on my shoulders everyday to go and get my car from the nearest neighbor, 2km away because the roads were impassable up to my house. Dr. Musokotwane himself could barely access his farm house because his access road was so poor. Look at the state of Independence stadium under MMD. Sata and Lungu have changed this country for the better and we have regained our respect on the global community. I am now proud…

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    • Be proud! And POOR!

      Just remember to be proud when you pay K20 for a loaf of bread.
      Be proud when you pay K90 a bag of mealie meal.
      Be proud when you sit in darkness.
      Be proud when you have NO WATER!

      Be very proud of your ignorance that will handicap your children their whole lives too because it will be all you have to be proud of.

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    • Are you also going to borrow for maintenance. My friend this is Kaloba and sooner or later we will need to run to the IMF and the World Bank. Don’t Kaloba to pave your yard my friend unless you have excess income which the country doesn’t have. You are practicing economics made simple. Borrowing 8 billion dollars in 5 years, come on!!!!

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  9. Development comes with a great cost.even at individual level sometimes we do sacrifice to build,sometimes you even adjust your lifestyle by even eating Chiwawa and chisense.
    Your article is good but it reminds of those times when MMD regimen used to bury money underground in preference to investing.they hard money but they would rather be keeping the money than investing. some years we hard a situation where some allocation in certain government ministry funds would go back to the National treasury without being utilised, and yet we saw people going to bed on an empty stomach,people suffering in accessing medical and education services, our roads where very impassable,we had place where people thought having electricity was dream to them.
    What’s purpose of having a good economy when…

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  10. Blogger comments all reviewed.i think tech editor if you slightly improve & embedd immature & childish comment posts so we make this page ,positive think tank forum.

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  11. PF cadres already criticizing the article because to them, nothing is wrong with the current state of the country.
    – it’s okay to borrow but PF borrowing was excessive
    – it is okay & important to build infrastructure but again, PF had rushed in doing so, without proper planning

    You guys in PF keep arguing & see everything to be okay even when the smell of smoke in your own house is getting strong. What kind of brain wash is this. Tell our president to take time, sit down & read this article on his iPad carefully. Kalima Nkonde is not in Zambia but he the smell of smoke is strong that he can smell it.

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    • *Kalima Nkonde is not in Zambia but the smell of smoke is so strong that he can smell it too.

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  12. The author should have atleast elaborated further on the cost benefit analysis of the robust infrastructural development that the PF Government had embarked on in the last four years. What is the future economic benefit of the Mongu-Kalabo road, the other various roads upgraded to bituminous standards countrywide, the numerous Universities and District Hospitals, the decentralization of governance through creation of new districts? The intention was great but probably the speed or time factor was on a higher side, which as the author has correctly observed, the current President is addressing (as per the recent Press Conference). VIVA PF

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  13. …spot on….’..motive to share knowledge with those in power, the opposition and the general public’….I wished the general public Kalima referred to encompassed marketers, call boys at stations, my uncles, Aunts and cousins in the village, those in low cost compounds and the like because these are the people who finally decide our political fate…who determine who ends up in state house….as long as they are not in the loop….our quagmire continues….
    …I totally agreed with ECL when he said Zambians should not blame him and his party…he was short of saying blame yourselves for the political choices you make….
    …hypothetically, if Mulyokela sold himself and end up at state house, why would we blame him when things go terribly wrong in one year’s time of his tenure…???

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  14. What is the purpose of having a good economy with bad roads, old schools and hosiptals? As alluded to by most bloggers development comes with a cost even at personal level, most of the pipo driving cars today sacrificed by getting loans from banks and that means reducing take home pays. In any case we shound not even be talking about this if previous regimes were bold enough to built roads and schools, this time we could be tackling something else like manufacturing industies.So sata did just well and he will go down in the history of this country as a very bold man who transformed Zambia’s infrastructure to level it is today.

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    • Sata will go down in history as the LYING THIEF that bankrupted Zambia to pay for his own personal MEDICAL TOURISM.

      And took the “proud and free” out of the National anthem and replaced it with “broke, begging and in ashamed of our debt”!

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  15. A nice article worth reading. I have tried to digest the contents therein and did not see any contradictions.
    The author seem to objective in his writing. May I just suggest that he now write another article on the same subject and entitle it “ambitious infrastructure development projects vs Robust infrastructure development prejects-The case of Zambia”. I am not suggesting that am writing a thesis on the subject matter and is soliciting for an assistance in research, to the contrary not at all. The debate would take a new dimension and for sure Kalima would still outwit his critics in his analysis. What do others say?

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  16. A nice article worth reading. I have tried to digest the contents therein and did not see any contradictions.
    The author seem to be objective in his writing and arguement. May I just suggest that he now write another article on the same subject and entitle it “ambitious infrastructure development projects vs Robust infrastructure development prejects-The case of Zambia”. I am not suggesting that am writing a thesis on the subject matter and is soliciting for an assistance in research, to the contrary not at all. The debate would take a new dimension and for sure Kalima would still outwit his critics in his analysis. What do others say?

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  17. I would like to disagree with those shooting down the analysis. The writer is not condemning the massive infrastructure as per se but outlining the fact that the programme was started without proper planning and we can all see the economic mess we have found ourselves today.

    It is time Zambians stopped disagreeing with anything which does not favour their party even if the truth is bare for all to see. Zambia is in a mess today because of what I will term as blind loyalty.

    Whether it is MMD, PF, UPND, FDD or one man parties of Mike Mulongoti, I have sadly observed that their supporters don’t analyse issues on rational basis but their arguments are based on loyalty which is a disaster and a serious case of dementia. I beg to move

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  18. A nice article indeed. My only observation is that the author never minded to talk about the long run cost benefit of this infrastructure development. While i agree that there are negative effects to this development, Kalima should also understand that there are also positives that also needed to be talked about. A research paper based on all negatives without propounding on the benefits of the topic being discussed will be a failed one. As already said by many people, to every action, there is a reaction. Kalima, talk about the positives of the infrastructure development being carried out by the pf, then you will be regarded as neutral or else you simply want to damage the name of the pf.

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  19. all the Kaponya thieve suppoters and their leaders can say is ”its Grobo, its Grobo, its Grobo,”
    The 2008 global melt down when copper prices were even lower we did not have this economic meltdown in zambia, only the the mismanegment and plunder can explain this.

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    • True, MMD managed the crisis much better. They had a better cabinet. I mean can you compare Magande and Chikwanda?

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  20. Nkonde you wasting energy, those who understand will understand but sadly the cadres are clueless and they are the majority. No wonder we have leaders from almost all the parties complaining about a ka grade 12 certificate which you would expect anybody who wants to make laws or be an executive for this country to have. A basic requirement and people are even arguing about it.

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  21. Ba Kalima muli bapuba zoona,you only grow bananas ,that is y your thinking is so shallow.Please consider this infrastructure development to the future well-being of Zambia.No country can develop without developing its infrastructure !! ask China,USA,Germany ,Uk etc.. You would jump on potholes and keep the money,ok mwaiche?

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  22. To others its a nice articlet its meant to discredit and indirectly support others opposing govt.
    Question is why now and not some time back when our kwacha was out of hand?
    Those asking what is your level of eduction remember you can be educated but still premitive still thinking of tribalism as a road to state house. You can be a good economist at your farm where you dont do election and no opposition but very bad dictator party president where he is not used to elections everything is I And No One Else.
    *zambia Has Been Very Firm And Strong Against External And Internal Shocks Only A Fool Who Does Not Read Can Accept The Above Story
    #zmk 11.2 -1 DR, RSA RAND 16.8-1DR, ANGOLAKWANZA 155 – 1 DR, NIGERIAN NIERA 290 – 1DR, ETC the list is endless now these countries have oil,cheap…

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  23. If indeed ba Kalima is a financial expert as he claims, every body would expect in the conclusion to show the way forward of recovery, now that all this has happened….

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  24. Ba Kalima Wesu
    Your narrative is generally good but too anecdotal in places. I would have expected comparative data on road construction costs in the region (Are these costs the highest in Sadc?). You have chosen to down play the poor state of or road network prior to Sata’s ascendency which hindered and hampered foreign direct investment which you so espouse. You deliberately down played the advantage a well constructed and maintained road network infrastructure has on the economy. What about employment creation? I disagreed with MCS on a lot of issues but this is not one of them. He has left a legacy. We only need to improve on its delivery and root out the attendant corruption.

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  25. I believe there is no wisdom in keeping idle money in the banks when infrastructure is rundown, as what happened immediately before PF reign. However, infrastructure development by PF should have been better planned, executed and monitored, and kept within manageable levels than this wholesome, populist, scantily monitored and largely unplanned fiasco which is currently prevailing.

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  26. To all and sundry. At 31% (Debt/GDP %) Zambia’s borrowing is not excessive and we are all agreed that at this percentage point there have been massive infrastructure development but imagine the development that would have been there had Zambia borrowed like the UK at 89.4% or like the USA at 102% or Japan at 230% or even S.A. at 39%.

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    • they ALL manufacture and export stuff. This is how they service their debt, and why they’re credit worthy.
      We just export the ground beneath our feet.

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  27. Botswana and Namibia have ownership of 50/50 in the diamond mines with DeBeers/Anglo American and hence a huge chunk of the profits remains in the countries and population of both these countries is less than 2 million people, please compare apples with apples and not apples with bananas.

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    • Actually it used to be 50/50, now Botswana owns 15% of De Beers, and Anglo-American now owns 85%. The Oppenheimers, who with JP Morgan, founded Anglo-American Corporation are now out of the diamond business altogether.

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  28. No infastructure – blame government
    Have infrastructure – blame government
    I’m a little confused!

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