Green Party President Peter Sinkamba says the creation of new Ministries is ill-timed considering the economic hardships that the country will have to endure.
Mr Sinkamba said the President will start the journey to 2021 on a wrong footing with a bloated cabinet when the country should be serving.
He said creation of new Ministries is imprudent considering that the country’s economy has shrunk by by about US$8 billion in one year.
“On ministries, our take is that the creation of new ministries has made cabinet to be too bloated. From the bloated cabinet, it is very clear that President Lungu is starting the journey to 2021 on a very wrong foot. It is very clear that President Lungu is inconsiderate of the economic fundamentals that he set himself to achieve
” With an economy that has shrunk by about US$8 billion in one year, we the Greens find it extremely imprudent for President Lungu to create more ministries. From all angles, creation of ministries appears to have nothing to do with actualization of the Industrialization and Job Creation Strategy and Youth Empowerment Action Plan, which primarily form the cornerstone of PF economic growth agenda. It is now very clear in our minds that President Lungu will run a highly consumptive government, and a management approach certainly runs afoul of IMF austerity regime. The future looks bleak,”he said.
He wondered how the PF government will achieve its macroeconomic objectives for 2016 when it failed to achieve an annual real GDP growth rate of 5.0% last year.
“Take for instance the macroeconomic objectives for 2016. First, his government has failed to achieve an annual real GDP growth rate of 5.0 percent. In 2015, GDP shrunk by US$4.9 billion, and is set to sink further by about US$3.3 billion by the end of 2016; government has failed to increase domestic revenue mobilization to at least 20.4 percent of GDP from 18.1 percent of GDP projected in 2015. It is unlikely that revenue collections for 2016 will exceed 15 percent; government has failed to reduce the budget deficit to 3.8 percent of GDP from 6.9 percent of GDP projected in 2015.
“Deficit is expected to 10 percent of GDP; government has failed to limit domestic borrowing to 1.2 percent of GDP. Domestic borrowing is in excess of 3 percent of GDP; government has failed to maintain single digit inflation with an end-year target rate of no more than 7.7 percent. Inflation is now hovering around 19%; government has failed to accelerate the diversification of the economy, particularly towards tourism, energy, agriculture and agro-processing as there has been nothing tangible to show for 2016; government has failed to maintain international reserves at no less than 4 months of import cover. The cover is less than three months,” he said.
He also said pronouncements on job creation has been mere rhetoric as there is nothing to show for all the strategies on job creation.
“Government has failed to create employment opportunities through accelerated implementation of programmes such as the Industrialization and Job Creation Strategy and the Youth Empowerment Action Plan. Up to this point in time, these strategies are mere rhetoric as there is nothing tangible to show at the close of 2016,” he said.