Are the poor truly going benefit from this removal of subsidies or it is politics as usual?

Gears Executive Director Macdonald Chipenzi
Gears Executive Director Macdonald Chipenzi

By GEARS Executive Director MacDonald Chipenzi

I have been hesitant to comment on this issue until I did some research on it so that I speak authoritatively.

Without a doubt, the so-called poor are at the center of this debate and will form the political grass that suffers when political elephants are fighting and outwitting each other.

For the sake of those with poor memories, this issue of removing fuel subsidies and increase in fuel pump prices were heavily debated in parliament in 2013 by both the UPND in opposition and PF in power.

The Minister of Energy then, Christopher Yaluma presented a comprehensive Ministerial Statement in which he solidly justified the removal of subsidies on fuel and the attendant increases in fuel pump prices in the country including the effects on the “poor”.

When asked to define who the poor were by Dundumwezi MP Edgar Sing’ombe, Yaluma defined the poor as Sing’ombe’s grandmother and his (Yaluma) grandmother in Malole,

Perhaps this is where we miss the point in this debate. We don’t know who the poor are to benefit from such measures in the long term.

In this debate, the PF MPs and Ministers who included Given Lubinda, Chishimba Kambwili, Robert Sichinga, Yaluma himself among others strongly defended the removal of subsidies on fuel and justified the increment in retail fuel pump prices promising that in the long term, the benefits to the poor would be accrued.

However, 7 years down the governance lane under the PF, the cost of retail fuel pump prices have never decreased but increased despite the removal of subsidies and the promise of cheaper fuel in long term.

Maybe there is a need to also define this long-term being referred to by politicians.

In the 7 years, the poor have never benefited from the promise of “cheap fuel in the long run” and an attempt to deliver cheap fuel at K5 per litre through the Saudi Arabia fuel deal never worked, and the deal disappeared in thin air.

Instead, the rich in government and outside have continued to benefit for 7 years until their electoral defeat in the 2021 elections.

Note that this removal of fuel subsidies in 2013 which spurred increment in fuel prices was not triggered by the IMF deal as is the case this time in 2021 but the realization by the government then that subsidies were a huge cost on government treasury and unsustainable in the long run.

The money to have been saved from the removal of subsidies on fuel was supposed to have built roads through National Roads Fund (NRF), employed teachers, health workers among others, and built strategic fuel reservoirs in all the 10 provinces and either revamp Indeni or build a new refinery.

The reality is there for all of us to gaze and testify to.

On the contrary, the UPND MPs in opposition vehemently defended the plight of the poor and strongly condemned the increment citing more hardships to the already suffering majority poor and the rural comprising 61% of the population.

With election upsets occasioned on August 12, 2021, which saw UPND wrestle power democratically from PF now in opposition, today, the PF, which include those ministers and MPs who strongly defended the removal and increments in fuel pump prices, is strongly condemning the removal of subsidies and the increment in fuel pump prices claiming it will devastating effects on and harm the poor.

On the contrary, the defenders of the poor in opposition then, the UPND, now in power, argue that the poor will benefit in the long term So the removal is okay and justified, the same position advanced by PF in power.

They have cited almost the same reasons cited by their predecessors when they removed the same subsidies in 2013 spurring fuel pump prices to hike.

The question is, are we ever going to have cheap fuel in Zambia?

Are we moving or stationary on this issue of fuel prices? Are the removal of these subsidies on fuel that spurs fuel price hikes ever going to reach us to a place or time where fuel is cheap since the causes for the removal seem to be the same?

Will the poor truly going benefit from this removal of subsidies before Jesus comes or after?

Or it is politics as usual not necessarily economics or interest for the poor AND for the next 10 years, fuel pump prices are unlikely to be lower?

With the new administration in 2021 just as it were with the new administration in 2013, fate is in time.

Time will soon help us to find out the truth around this issue of subsidy removal on fuel and further help us appreciate or not appreciate the removal of subsidies policies with the associated sacrifices and the benefits in the long term for the poor


  1. You have said too much without saying anything. You are trying to say something but your alignment to the Upnd is obstructing you to say that truth which you know. You dwell on trying to justify the unjustifiable. Trying not to tell your masters that they are wrong.

  2. It’s called capitalism, if you want the poor to benefit then try humanism, communism, socialism or a mix of everything. Zambia’s economy will always be fragile if we keep following rather than leading. KK was very successful with keeping Zambia united because he followed and believed in his principals. No foreign medication can fix Zambia, the prescription to our illness lies within us. Very complicated for people to understand but when they do, they will also discover that the so called freedom is actually a code word for winner takes all.

  3. What do you expect Mr. Chipenzi to say?
    He is essentially acknowledging that removal of subsidies on fuel will hurt zambians but he can’t come out clearly because he is upnd.
    So he writes an article full of waffle and without conclusion.

  4. Politicians are just tricky. In my personal anticipation, nothing will benefit the poor. These are conditions spearheaded by IMF masters. This New Dawn Government seems to be pro-whites in policy formulation and dealings.

  5. Yes agree the writer collected some good basic background on fuel subsidies but conclusively failing to come out on what his position on the issue.
    Be brave and tell us what you want us to know.

  6. Guys, the writer is very clear. The concern he is raising is that ‘who is going to benefit following the removal of subsidise. He is finding out if the benefits will be visible now or twenty years later.

  7. It’s just a matter of politics ,not rely working to improve the standard of living for the poor but for themselves.How do the standard of living improve when the cost of living transportation of goods and services is high?


  9. Mealie meal now is K180.00 even before Zesco has joined the removal frenzy. How am I a poor person going to benefit? Maybe after I have died of hunger I will benefit in my grave?

  10. @#10 Tikki, can you tell us the top 5 most indebted countries in the world and explain if these countries are not regarded as prosperous. Stop assuming everyone is as credulous as you.


  12. Tikki is right ,you accepted PF bribes,debts and big projects whilst they drove down all the economic indicators.Did you expect pain will never come?

  13. Non of the PF promises ever worked. They promised people more money in their pockets and the end of their ten year misrule there was nothing

  14. This is what i call stupidity and playing jokes. So what has this so called CHIPENZI said? What is his conclusion, if he did the research, shouldn’t he in his normal brain been able to tell us the Answer??

  15. Chipenzi l think you are old enough to know that our political system is rotten to the core. In 2013 UPND opposed subsidy removal but now there are in power they are supporting subsidy removal. Its an issue of Chimbwi no standard policy. UPND ni ba muselela kwaba. lts a matter of ukwalola umwela eko twalola.

    Honestly our politicians in Zambia are interested in the jobs voters give them. They are a bunch of freaks. They are just voted into power to support democratic governance not to change people’s lives for the better. What they are doing is too little too late compared to the millions of unemployed youths who a time bomb.

    My major concern is that UPND policies are similar to PF and MMD policies in reverse. Just look at the composition of the Cabinet: you people like Masebo,…

  16. Mr Chipenzi is not coming out clearly He is failing to say his finding over the issue. The truth is things will go up and an ordinary Zambian will bear the cost. The gap between the rich and the poor is going to be big.

  17. How is the poor going to benefit because the cost of leaving will be very high. The reason why we removed PF was corruption and the cost of leaving was too high the prices were going up every week.

  18. The answer is the poor will sufer and the rich will be richer. they must tell us that they want to make the richer and the people who vote are the poor
    and are the ones they forget first.

  19. @ 1 Deja Vu December 19, 2021 At 9:37 am
    You have said too much without saying anything. You are trying to say something but your alignment to the Upnd is obstructing you to say that truth which you know. You dwell on trying to justify the unjustifiable. Trying not to tell your masters that they are wrong…………….YOU ANALYZE HIM SO WELL. HE CLEVERLY DOES NOT WANT TO OUTRIGHTLY CONDEMN HIS UPND BUT DOES A COMPARISON ANALYSIS. PF HAVING BEEN THERE, LEARNT THE LESSONS AND IS TELLING UPND THAT THE ROUTE THE ARE ALSO TAKING IS NOT A GOOD ONE. ITS UPND TO TAKE THE ADVISE SINCE THEY ARE NONENTITIES TO THE GAME…………………….IT’S LIKE HAVING SEATS IN PF STRONGHOLDS PETITIONED, NULLIFIED, BY-ELECTION HELD AND ONLY TO HAVE THE ALL SEATS WON BACK BY PF…………THE AFRICAN…

  20. Reading this man’s article is like reading a newspaper soiled with poop. The man is damn tribalist. We do not read articles from tribalists.He showed who he is during a run to elections.

  21. The writer of this article is obviously UPND that is why he is failing to hit the nail on its head as to the impact of this measure. He is just spinning. My advice to this gentleman is that he must go and help our president to look for the Excel Spreadsheet which he used to explain to Zambians how he was going to reduce to cost of fuel by K4 when he was in opposition. It appears our president has lost his excel spreadsheet. All those who are busy spinning on this platform trying to justify the unjustifiable measure are advised to help him find his excel spreadsheet instead of sounding like they are economists when they are not.
    Apart from lawyers on my list of professionals I will never trust, I have added economists!!!!

  22. The writer of this article is just another UPND cadre masquerading as an NGO activist. My advice to you, sir, is that go and help our current president HH to look for the Excel Spreadsheet which he used (whilst he was in opposition) to explain to the Zambian people how he was going to reduce fuel prices by K4 instead of spinning on this platform justifying the unjustifiable. You have to be serious. This is a matter which you know will result in increased cost of almost all essential commodities and you can waste your time writing articles that are inconclusive in their nature. You even tell us that you had to do some research before writing your article on the subject matter. What were the conclusions of your research on the removal of subsidies? You are forgiven because your article…

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