Respected Trade and Business Consultant Trevor Simumba has strongly recommended that President Edgar Lungu drops Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe from her ministerial post.
Mr Simumba has since proposed Ms. Dolika Banda as Mrs. Mwanakatwe’s replacement.
Reacting to Mrs. Mwanakatwe’s appearance on Bloomberg TV in Washington D.C, Mr. Simumba said the interview confirmed that the Finance Minister is clueless about fixing Zambia’s economic problems.
He said Zambia is on a brink of complete economic and social meltdown and that President Lungu needs to take action now.
“I said it she is clueless. The longer she remains as Minister the more damage to our economy. It was truly sad watching her. And this is Bloomberg! I received over 3 calls after this show from international banks,” Mr. Simumba said.
“To understand the reaction of the investor community to her interview check the movement of the Euro bonds and exchange rate yesterday (Friday). They all moved in the negative direction not positive,” he stated.
“What is worse is that she has been saying this of all places in D.C. ECL can find credible people willing to be Minister of Finance with a much more solid public finance experience right there in Zambia.”
“The current Minister of Finance admits in private she does not know what to do. I say have the guts to resign rather than continue this charade that will lead Zambia into a deep hole,” Mr Simumba said in a series of tweets.
Mr. Simumba also laughed off Mrs. Mwanakatwe’s statement that borrowing is an investment for the future.
“It is an investment for the future if you spend it effectively and efficiently. But when you spend 80% of it on roads in towns, non-productive areas and at inflated costs it becomes an albatross. Today Nakonde road remains a disaster and yet it’s a major regional economic road,” he charged.
Mr. Simumba charged that Zambia’s debt is likely to go up this year with another US$3 billion projected to be added on the already existing debt stock.
“According to the 2019 Budget Resource Envelope. Govt expects to spend K86 billion against total domestic revenues of K56 billion. Foreign grants are only 1.9 billion with the bal. of K28.1 billion coming from loans. This will add another $3 billion to our already high debt! Very few people have noticed or maybe the simply want to ignore but in the 2019 Zambian budget the Minister proposes to borrow 30 billion Kwacha just cover the budget deficit and not including capital expenditure! And in the middle of that budget you want to replace VAT?”
“But to sit and bury your heads in the sand is just simply treacherous and evil. Zambia is on the real brink of complete economic and social meltdown. President Lungu take action now.
He added, “There is real suffering out there. no medicines in clinics and hospitals across the country. Crime in high density urban areas is at an all-time high. Kids in most rural areas don’t go to school. The youth are failing to find jobs let alone even able to start their own business.”
Mr. Simumba suggested that Ms. Banda could make a better Finance Minister.
“Ms. Dolika Banda would have the political and economic clout to get Zambia out of this mess. She is the daughter to RB, the architect of Lungu’s Presidency. If you are afraid of a Magande (Ng’andu) or Saasa (Prof. Oliver) then bring in your own. At least Dolika is 100% more competent than my sister Dudu.”
“(Dolika) She is the niece to RB but in Africa she is the daughter., he brought her up after her father, RBs brother passed on. She is imminently qualified for this job as Minister.”
Ms. Dolika Banda is a Zambian Economist and Advisor with more than 25 years of international banking and financial management experience on economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Most recently, Ms. Banda was Regional Director at the UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation since 2013 after having worked at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation for 16 years.
She has also held senior positions at Barclays and Citibank in Zambia.