The Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers- ZUFIAW President, Mr. Ackim Mweemba, has observed that the imminent bailout program proposed by the IMF has once again exposed Zambia as a country that it has failed to properly manage its national affairs.
President, Mr. Ackim Mweemba, has observed that the imminent bailout program proposed by the IMF has once again exposed Zambia as a country that it has failed to properly manage its national affairs.
Mr. Mweemba noted that member countries run to Brent Wood Institutions in turbulent times, an act that renders them too weak to negotiate better packages for their respective countries. “An inquiry into how nations get to this level would be prudent and indeed critical in moving forward our beloved country, Zambia” he stated.
He further elaborated that it was at instances of defining moments that nations resorted to IMF bailout solutions, and at that point, it were the workers that suffered the greatest. The ZUFIAW leader challenged government to prescribe the dosage for the country especially that it would only be administered after the 11th August, 2016 elections.
He mentioned that ZUFIAW as an institution that represent the workers, was mindful of excruciating austerities in the policies imposed by the IMF on desperate countries in exchange for such bailouts, which in most cases present serious constraints on the welfare of the already burdened workers.
The IMF are on record of having wrecked misery to many Zambian workers in 1991, by forcing our government then, to implement the infamous privatization of national enterprises, structural adjustment programs (SAP) and deregulation of the market, including the labor market which reduced the collective bargaining power of workers.
Since then, wage suppression has become the order of the day, with political autonomy taken away, the Zambian government was forced to sell national assets such as the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) conglomerate to the descendants of those that colonized us. We are now grappling with huge budget deficits because we are at the mercy of the mining companies.
Against this back ground, the Zambian workers need to be resilient, strong and courageous with a positive mind and focus to better times in the midst of hard time at present and in near soon. Hope is assured for their improved conditions of service yet not today, tomorrow but the other day.
He further observed that it will be absolutely wrong for the government to remove subsidies on electricity and pump fuel prices because this would kill small enterprises and the cost of living will be unbearable especially for women and the youths.
He stated that the Removal of these subsidies was, but just a gimmick by the IMF to compel the country to surrender these two important sectors of our economy, just like we no longer have a say on the mining sector. Any attempt to withdraw fertilizer input support program (FISP) by the government will have far reaching consequences on the economy.
The IMF sometimes in their prescription include the removal of subsidies on the staple food of a particular nation by encouraging recipient countries to grow cash crops for export and yet flood that country with subsidized crops from the powerful nations controlling them.
Mr. Mweemba advised that our main objective as a country should be to avoid finding ourselves in this trap, adding that this would be the third time we were finding ourselves knocking on the doors of the IMF for assistance since independence. He stressed the need to examine our spending and investment priorities as well as our borrowing patterns as preventive measures against crippling the economy: the current case of Zambia.
“Our country’s economy is under massive pressure as viewed from the point of view of low copper prices, electricity crisis, and other compounding factors affecting our economy and yet we are boasting of more than fifty (50) years of independence.
These issues go to show that we need to be very prudent in the way we manage our resources. As a Union, we wish to advise our leaders to be more prudent in resource management and invest in high income generating projects leading into the diversification of the economy, a tool for increased financial options and reducing inflation.