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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

DO NOT REMOVE the subsidies before FIXING the economy

Columns DO NOT REMOVE the subsidies before FIXING the economy

By Fumba Chama AKA Pilato

The indication by the Central Bank Governor to raise the fuel and electricity tariffs is and was expected. It was expected because for a long time we knew that these were subsidized costs. The real cost is and was not what we the people pay for. Removing these subsidies was the song that the PF preached from inception and whenever the ERB was approving upward adjustments to the costs of fuel and electricity tariffs, they reminded us that it was because the costs were not reflecting the reality at the market level.

Increasing the costs of electricity or fuel is not really the problem. I do not think that the problem is the actual cost of electricity or fuel. To assume that the problem is the cost is a huge misunderstanding and may not be helpful for those charged with the responsibility to find solutions to our problems. WHAT then is our problem?

Our problem is the fact that the majority of our people cannot afford it. We still have a huge number of unemployed youths, who are not sure of what to do next for them to land a coin. We have a huge population who are struggling to afford basic commodities even with the subsidies still in place. The rationale for introducing subsidies was that even the lowest-paid citizen should be able to afford some decent life. The removal of subsidies and the subsequent rise of the cost of electricity and fuel prices will impact ordinary people worse compared to others who bask in enormous wealth. Those who can’t afford basic needs now will be dropped further down the poverty line. Those who could afford just the basics will equally fall a step below in their poverty.

My advice to the President and the government is, DO NOT REMOVE the subsidies before FIXING the economy. The people need to have the power to buy first. We cannot continue raising the cost of living before raising the power of the people. The subsidies do make life bearable even for those without jobs. DO NOT INCREASE THE TARIFFS before increasing the capacity of the people to afford it.

The price is not the problem, the buying power is the problem. Before fixing the price, fix the pockets.


  1. That’s what we need.. calling a spade a spade. This guy was hounded by the former goverment. The people thought he would spare this new goverment. They were wrong. Yes Fix The Suffering Youths Situation. They literally changed the goverment because jobs were promised, so give them those jobs then remove the subsidies.

  2. Bravo Pilato! You are showing that you are not a puppet but you will speak for what is right and wrong. I salute you.

  3. Chipante pante Government even Pilato sounds more intelligent than the so called messiah HH….the President is clueless….sikopodonono I don’t even know how he acquired his wealth…..hint hint via corruption no wonder they’re giving amnesty to all known criminals HH and Edgar Lungu

  4. I concur with pilato. Am a pensioner with 3 unemployed children and struggling to have a decent basic life. An increase in fuel & zesco tarrifs due to removal of subsidies will cause more hardship. Will end up with only 1 meal per day. God forbid.

  5. I concur with pilato. Life today is hard enough as it is. Can only afford 2 meals per day reduced in size and content. Meanwhile my diabetic condition begs to be attended to.

  6. Removal of subsidies is one of the philosophies of the Brentwood Institutions and we’ve been there before. When Ronald Damson Siame Penza removed all subsidies he was voted the best performing Finance Minister in the whole world at that moment. But what those that praised him avoided to discuss was that poverty prevalence levels that KK and UNIP left at 56% moved to 86% and that’s when our women used to sleep with Alsatians for money. We lost our country. We’ll never forgive whoever desires to take us back there. Nipano tuli

  7. FUMBA play again your song BUFI for Hakainde Hichilema who promised to drop the price of fuel by K4. He himself told us in his face book posting what the PF used to say about him that “KK kabufi kalemona kwati kuti kabwesha umutengo wa fuelo, kalesabaila”. Here we are HH is in power and going against what he promised to Zambians. He is proving to us to be a kelenka. He thought running Zambia Limited was like running an accounting firm where he used to work or his cattle ranches. He still thinks you can run a government like you are running your private business where you think mostly about making profit. He does not seem to realise, as FUMBA is rightly pointing out, that it is about serving your people. I was one of those that believed and still believe that HH is a textbook economist…

  8. … ready to swallow the pill of the IMF prescription hook, liner and sinker. Where as late President FTJ would ask us at his mammoth Pope Square rally whether we were ready to sacrifice as Zambians once MMD came into power, HH lied to many unsuspecting Zambians that he was going to bring the cost of doing business and living down. But what we are beginning to see is the exact opposite. HH is the type of person who opens his mouth and the next moment puts his foot in it. He is an outright deceitful person whose lies will bring about his downfall faster than most of his hero worshippers realise. I salute you FUMBA for speaking truth to power. You are the kind of right-thinking young person this country needs and not the useless UPND praise singers.

  9. @PILATO; The removal of subsidies and raising of Interest rates, is the Move to Fix the Economy. It will hate now but 6 months down the line, you will be happier. Our Economy was badly damaged and unfortunately most Zambians don’t understand how economies work. We need to take drastic measures to get things FIXED. Bally is not St.upid he knows and quite smart on this.

  10. Because hh is showing signs of ineptitude, every jim and jack or piece of !d!0+ is now advising.
    The baby economist president seems to be heeding IMF/World Bank sickness. Now you will feel them serving as president not as privatization consultant.
    Isn’t cabinet bigger than dobo pilato? Or is it that Ministers in hh cabinet don’t have the balls to sound like dobo pilato in Cabinet meetings.
    Zambians need cheap everything; fuel, nshima, travelling, farming inputs, electricity, dollar, roads. The promises.
    You got less than 5 years.
    The rest is history.

  11. How much in Kwachas have Musicians and Artist paid in taxes last year? If we are to do away with subsidies, we need to collect taxes from everyone, Tu ntembas, Poultry and Fish businesses, Briefcase businessmen, everyone. The Entertainment industry has been one of the successful industries in Zambia, a massive boom since year 2000. We need to tax them. I challenge ZRA to answer me.

  12. I tell the youth that PF wanted to stay power forever and if there were really jobs lying around, I am sure PF would have given them to the youth even two jobs per person. Simply put there no jobs lying around. Simply put if you want to survive, use initiative and imagination. Otherwise you’ll keep on voting in and voting out Political parties until you are no longer a youth.

  13. Get a solar system so you get free electricity (and as a bonus no more loadshedding) and get an electric car (no more fuel costs). Problem solved!

  14. It is because of f00Is like pllato and Ge0rge mt0nga that we have a useless government that has failed to deliver on its promises. The other day that small boy Anth0ny bwalya was busy haIIucinating about r0tten b0ils or ichipute to explain why they have failed to deliver

  15. You’re the same people who used to riot whenever Kaunda attempted to remove mealie meal subsidies. Then you elected Chiluba who removed them immediately he became President in 1991. Did you die when mealie meal subsidies were removed? Stop the freebies and living in a fake and distorted economy. All existing subsidies should be removed and let the economy even itself out like it happened when mealie meal subsidies were removed.

  16. Why is electricity expensive, are we buying the water used to generate it or what??? from the salaries these guys at Zesco get per month i don’t think the company is struggling? Zambia must be the only place where a company like Zesco which doesn’t make a profit but sees it fit to over pay its management and buy brand new latest SUV models each year.

  17. The problem is Zambia has a small economy and most of it goes to paying Politicians. for example why pay a single coin to a District Commissioner and on top of that a pension. This is waste of money.
    Can Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and not to forget MP’s justify the salaries they receive each month.
    No wonder every jim and jack wants to be an MP, because there careless money there.
    No one should get rich by being a civil servant, its not right…

  18. Indeed! Small economy – but wanting to live like the wealthy Americans! Huge SUVs everywhere you look. These vehicles are guzzlers of fuel! We are overreaching ourselves!

  19. You know there’s been cheating and theft somewhere, when mere civil servants start constructing houses for sale, and no one questions the source of their wealth. It’s no wonder then, that, everyone wants to work in government; that’s where easy pickings are! It’s a messed-up economy!

    #plant a tree now please!

  20. Not small economy, but small tax revenue base because we can’t tax industries properly. All those people at city market, who do they pay tax to? The more tax and less Government expenditure, then we can just walk into UTH and be attended to by a Doctor/Nurse, garbage and sewer collected……


  22. What I would only say is that the government must and should always fight for it’s people to live better lives in all circumstances, I do remember during the reign of Chilufya Sata this man chose to increase the pay for the civil servants , the IMF opposed him and said you have no capacity to do that but he went a head and increased their pay.
    Government you are not there to squeeze out every ngwee from the Zambians , in this whole world including those who are saying remove subsidies , they have subsidies to caution off the poverty their people face , but it is laughable for our leaders to insist to do what kills populations of their own citizens.
    The western world is kept running by subsidies and mind you these nations give benefits to their citizens who are in precarious…

  23. Anything that degrades the living standards of Zambians is wrong don’t do it, that is the reason why people elected you so that you can sooth their pain, by helping them to remove the biting economy and yes they did you and celebrated.
    what I am saying is that you engage your thinking head and find the answer to this equation before you , we advised you not go to immediately rush to IMF but you disregard our advice pretending that you were wiser than our words, I just like thinkers like Sata though with humble education yet he did what most educated presidents failed to do.
    If you could open up your industrial mind you may come up with some better solutions, than going in circles and going nowhere.

  24. When you talk of free education, you must also look at the quality of this free education. Even now our schools are almost free but parents..many of them…opt take their children to very expensive private schools. It’s only the poorest of the poor who will use these goverment schools. Those who make it to higher education are either naturally bright, hard working or they can afford private tuition ( by the same teachers from these free schools).

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