Government Should not have borrowed $ 30 million to beautify Mulungushi International Conference Center

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By Prince J. Ndoyi

As a young person I seek to express my deep sense of concern and shock on the revelation that our government has contracted a loan to a tune of US$30 MILLION from China for the MODERNISATION of Mulungushi International Conference Center in readiness for the 2022 African Union (AU) Heads of State summit.

Our government has chosen to modernise a conference facility meant for a few days summit amidst soaring accommodation challenges in our high learning institutions. Much as we appreciate that this is an INTEREST FREE loan, it still remains debt being poured into yet another bottomless pit.

Numerous questions arise, whether this is in itself a priority? Will this amount of money pay dividends in the future and if the amount to be spent is reasonable only to temporarily beautify the conference center? Of course government officials are quick to respond that this will be a valuable investment in the future and that aside being an investment, hosting the Summit will improve the image of Zambia and prove to the international scene that it is financially capable to host big events.

The truth of the matter is that we have a broke government, and spending that much in addition to many other expenditures in a bid to host the summit, is somewhat a misplaced priority. Is It worth it? Of what benefit and advantage of hosting such high profile summit is it to the Zambian people?

Our almost immediate reaction, is an ernest appeal to our listening government to instead redirect the 30Million USD Loan to modernise Mulungushi Conference Center, towards reducing the never ending accommodation crises at all our public learning institutions.

30 million US dollars is too colossal an amount to be poured into an infrastructure which a fortnight later after the event will be turned into a WHITE ELEPHANT like many other govt conferencing facilities.

Government is behaving like a groom, who walks into a bank to borrow millions of dollars only to splash his lovely bride with a luxurious wedding and exotic honey moon overseas. Only to come back broke into a rented house. To me this also suggests that our approach with development aid might be misguided.

We are reminded that on 12th December, 2008, the MMD government during President Rupiah Banda’s administration announced its withdraw on the offer to host the 2011 All Africa games. At the time, late founding president of Patriotic Front exerted gruesome pressure on RB. The late cited president Banda to have lacked priorities for electing to host games at the expense of the starving majority Zambians.

And government listened, through chief government spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha on the said date the Zambian government made a sound decision to forgo the hosting of the games.

Therefore, I call upon President Lungu to reconsider redirecting this loan into key and critical priority infrastructure areas such as accommodation for students or those meant to enhance food security in the wake of tougher economic times ahead.

I am of the strong considered view that Mulungushi International Conference Center is good enough to host any summit bearing in mind our economic challenges. As a country we cannot pretend among fellow African leaders facing similar financial and economic challenges, for some even worse than us, by recklessly spending debt monies only to satisfy an appearance.

If by assessment Mulungushi Conference Center requires urgent renovations to host the summit, government can either forego the hosting of this summit inturn saving us from this unnecessary expenditure. Or government can instead save its revenue monies over a period of time, since the summit will only be held in 2022 and time is on our side.

Going forward govt must deliberately decide to identify priority areas for development financing which must include food production, hospitals, schools, water and sanitation and roads. Government should re-prioritized its spending plans for the 2018 to 2021 Medium Expenditure Framework to concentrate on a few important infrastructure.

Government should develop an Infrastructure Priority List like it is done in many other countries, listing prioritised nationally significant investments to help guide our ministers as they travel to seek development aid, to avoid shooting at an empty sky. This will equally provide the much needed guidance on specific infrastructure investments that will underpin Zambia’s continued prosperity, to avoid appearing haphazard in our development approach.

Zambia today is confronted with many challenges, ranging from inadequate and unaffordable housing, inadequate bed spaces at all public high learning institutions among others and any such attractive loans must be quickly identified for these areas.

Despite witnessing exceptional growth in development finance in recent years, Zambia is still faced with the arduous task of mobilizing adequate resources to fund its growth and future transformation agenda. Given the paucity of external development assistance, and low commodity prices for our goods and services, its needless to say that Zambia has to awaken to the fact that it must rely on its own financial resources for sustainable development.

In closing I want to say that as a young person, I have elected to throw up my hands in despair when decisions to do with debts contracted on our behalf, which are future liabilities most likely to be repaid by ourselves, appear not to be properly and prudently applied. And I call upon my fellow young people to do the same, to rise above all manner of partisan persuasion but to instead see the bigger picture. This is a debt burden to be carried by us, therefore its equally our duty to advise appropriately.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak for others is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Ndonji, get a job for Heavens sake

    Who on earth are you to criticize Mr lungu anyway?

    Go away you biological mistake,

    Government did the right thing

    There is roads, everyone has cars, more Malls, people have land the country is BETTER than it has ever been.

    Write an article praising the Government not this rubbish that deserves cleaning my backside flushing down the toilet and moving on.

    You are NOT very bright are you? Where are you from anyway with such a name?
    Thanks

    BB2014,2016

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    • Well, do not be mistaken.

      Most of that money will disappear like the borrowed money before it.

      That is standard practice with this government.

      They have mansions to build.

      They are common thieves.

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    • Good job Mushota, “He who does not give praise is a child of a witch.” So many witches children in UPND. They cannot recognise good because of mental and soul diseases. COALITION OF THE WICKED.

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  2. First why umwaiche Ndoyi call himself a “youth”?
    Lesson: Grant is not loan.
    PF government got a $30 million Grant from China.
    Indeed from $30 million they could renovate 60 secondary schools.

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    • At least Nostradamus is beginning to blog sense. A grant is not a loan and what serial critics should question the use of the grant

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    • Why do you think the Chinese would give you that money?

      Do you know what deals have been struck?

      You are busy celebrating like that money does not have conditions.

      To be honest, it would have better if it were a loan.

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  3. Misplaced priorities is the worst curse of the PF led govt. When will they also get some grants or loans to improve the soaring housing problem around the country’s urban areas and improve the learning institutions? Please someone talk to XI that also need proper and good accommodation 😀

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  4. the author has very little clue what he is talking about or what the words he uses mean. but out of all this we can agree that we have greater needs. thanks

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    • HH the inside trader thief is filthy rich today because of theft and corruption. If he were in the U.S. he would be behind bars. He store from Zambians. His money laundering could have made him in prison too.

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  5. These are lazy people you are advising here…they have no understanding of hardwork…they will use a Chinese contractor who will simply put windows and tiles for $3 million then they will pocket the rest….this is a typical of why we are indebted.

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    • Lazy bum illiterate hooligan bully masquerading as an expert fighting tribal wars with his lazy bum Childish as leader who will NEVER be president in our lifetime. Mentally and soulishly sick.

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  6. When you get a grant or loan from China please don’t contract the Chinese again. We are going to pay back that money in one way or another so please let the money remain in the country and not return it to China. And don’t say local contractors have failed, just don’t hand pick. They are able to do well with money.

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    • He is borrowing $30 million yet he had $30 million to put in a pointless airline…some schools don’t roofs but these reckless tins are worried about conference centre.

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  7. Spaka, mind you such projects are turn-Key! meaning, the Chinese will renovate and while doing so, they will procure materials and pay for whatever services- contractors or consultancy. when completed they will handover by way of cutting the ribbon with the powers that be. Now, tell me how they will exchange $10m

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