Thursday, June 13, 2024

Why the Release of K1.284 Billion To Farmers And Schools Is Not Good for President HH

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By Kapya Kaoma

Did President Hichilema authorize Secretary to the Treasury Felix Nkulukusa’s Press Release about K1.284 Billion for farmers and government schools? Most Zambians don’t go beyond the headlines, but for those who read, that memo undressed President HH’s administration “bad-time,” as Zimbabweans say.

Mr. Nkulukusa’s statement sought to boast about releasing the money. But the truth is, the money is long overdue. President HH should have paid farmers within 60 days in office and announced the amount each school would receive the moment his administration declared free education in the nation! Partial payments of farmers in January, when they are in the heart of a new farming season simply exposes President HH as incompetent and his administration as disorganized at worst. For the man who ran on prioritizing agriculture, the Opposition could exploit this scenario as another betrayal of the Zambian people.

Didn’t the President know that farmers needed the money to reinvest in farming? How does he expect farmers to reinvest in the 2021-2022 season when they’re not paid for the 2020/2021 season? To argue that he inherited Lungu’s budget is simply an illusion–farmers are essential to the economy and the life of the nation. Most of them depend on the returns of the previous season for the following farming season–thus it betrays all logic that the Secretary could badly claim that the administration still owes hard working farmers their money.

Similarly, the administration declared free education but not details of what it entails. Every Head teacher or teacher has a different version of what free education means, and how the system will operate going forward. Why? The administration has provided no guidance at all. Besides, does the President understand the implications of releasing grants to schools a week before schools are originally set to open? Does the Regime understand how the education system works? By this time, schools should have come up with budgets and timetables. Since most schools run APU classes which depend on tuition fees, releasing the money so late will disrupt the education system. In fact, some teachers may opt out of APU classes should there be no money to pay them from the released amount. Another reason one cannot expect a successful implementation of the new policy at the beginning of the new academic year without any preparations–it is an invitation for failure. Moreover, different schools have different budgets based on number of students, areas, special needs and costs, thus the one size fits all New Dark Regime funding system is impractical. The administration should have begun by consulting teachers, Principals, Parents and education experts, and then allow Schools to make budget submissions, and finally slowly rollout the logistics before implementing this new policy.

Bally won’t fix things alone. He needs the expertise of career Civil servants and not UPND cadres. We are in January, and farmers are deep in the 2021/2022 farming season. How could the HH administration justify owing farmers K1.63 billion for the 2020/2021 season until Jan 3rd, 2022?It defies logic that it still owes them about K700 million as of today! Is this something to celebrate? Farmers needed this money in October, so where is the priority in this administration? Is this how Bally is fixing it?

The same with education. K324 million per quarter is set for schools–implying that 1.3 billion will be spent per year. How was this number arrived at? What factors did the administration take into consideration and how much will each school receive? The depositing of funds into bank accounts won’t “ensure” the “proper ” running of the schools as the Secretary suggests. On the contrary, the amount of money each school will receive will impact its operations. That’s why the Press Release was insulting–it didn’t give us any figure per school for us to know whether the money is enough or not. It was just a political statement from an institution that ought to be apolitical. The simple question is, how much will each school receive? Will Kabulonga Girls receive the same amount as Matanda School in rural Luapula? Why didn’t the Secretary tell us? Is it because he was afraid or he doesn’t know yet? Or is it a state secret? If so, tell us.

This brings us to “bursaries for vulnerable” students in boarding schools. According to Mr. Nkulukusa’s statement, they are “to be allocated through the Constituency Development Fund.” Sadly, “the guidelines are not yet “completed.” This is highly threatening, but not surprising–it is the sad reality of the cult of the Big Man, whose “off-the-cuff remarks have the power of law.” Simply because the Big Man said it, everybody accepted it without thinking. But policy is not developed off-the-cuff–rather you think through it, plan and execute. Parliament exists for this very reason. It is to debate policy issues. Alas! In the HH administration, whatever the BIG MAN SAYS, it must be done even if it does not make sense. This is not how policy works! We are headed for grand abuse of public resources simply because we are implementing an ideological program of the President which was never debated, analyzed and evaluated by policy experts. But because it is the President’s idea, it will be overwhelmingly funded. With it will come grand corruption and misuse of public funds. We don’t learn. KK’s cooperatives, and Go Back to the Land, Chiluba’s Privatization, and Presidential Housing Initiative, Mwanawasa’s Anti-Corruption Campaign, and Winter Maize Project are examples! They failed!

I understand the pressure to impress people, but the statement from the treasury is embarrassingly damaging to the administration. There’s nothing to celebrate in that release aside from the inconceivable incompetence it announced to the world.

17 COMMENTS

  1. At the beginning, I took you as a bad critic. Now I understand that you go beyond that. You just have to be ignored. There are such people in life. One just has to move on. They will never see any good in what another does. Oops; it is a rainy Thursday. Time to get down the field!

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  2. New government can not just come and start paying farmers, an audit was still required looking at the chipante pante way PF was doing things. Please note that there is now an organised way of doing things. Also your rejected government left empty coffers because of reckless borrowing. Author is advised to pretend to recover from the August 12 shock because bitterness induces illness

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  3. Yes……….

    In the ideal world of this chap , yes things should work like clock work……….

    Yawwwnnnnnn………

    Did not read beyond the first paragraph…….

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  4. The delay is true but all problems in this country start and end with the chased regime, the PF. Go to MoA and go and find out cause of delay than exposing your mighty ignorance here

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  5. These upnd chaps they will keep on using pf as a scape goat, MMD did that to UNIP at the end of the day UNIP did more good then MMD.. besides upnd have no idea how government system functions it’s job on training…

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  6. Bally and UPND budget started on January 1, 2022. So where did Bally go wrong? The PF budget did not have provision for the funds to pay farmers and free education. How did you expect Bally to pay them when there was no money budgeted for that in the PF budget that ended on December 31, 2021? Sometimes its better to just keep quiet than to rush to write an article for showoff. I agree with Sansanya that you should just be ignored. You and Mwamba and other useless PF choir singers have all of a sudden grown pig-size balls to criticize everything Bally does and yet you never criticized ECL for the wrongs he did because you benefited from his corrupt GRZ.

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  7. Bally and UPND budget started on January 1, 2022. So where did Bally go wrong? The PF budget did not have provision for the funds to pay farmers and free education. How did you expect Bally to pay them when there was no money budgeted for that in the PF budget that ended on December 31, 2021? Sometimes its better to just keep quiet than to rush to write an article for showoff. I agree with Sansanya that you should just be ignored. You and Mwamba and other useless PF choir singers have all of a sudden grown pig-size balls to criticize everything Bally does and yet you never criticized ECL for the wrongs he did because you benefited from his corrupt GRZ.

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  8. Correct!
    But what do you get, honestly get, from u5 president.
    Without proper information, one cannot properly decide. Without research, one cannot have facts, without facts and figures one is not informed, without information one can not properly plan. Without a plan you have a cimbwi with a plan. With a cimbwi without a plan you have IMF conditions. With this in mind you have a country without sovereignty.
    You’re doomed if you seek to outrightly work in top down model.

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  9. I am beginning to suspect that LT is also a hired PF gun. Look at the way they report issues pertaining to the New Dawn Govt, and even giving space to this hired PF gun in the name of Kapya Kaoma

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  10. This government is a disaster, Zambia has never had such a liar government everything is a lie where is this regime taking the nation.
    They are celebrating nothing how are the farmers you have not paid thinking of you?
    Are they not calling you crooks who cannot be trusted!
    Really we can now prove why your adversaries were saying that you can’t be president, because there is nothing in you to trust.

  11. They must have gone into office without handovers. See when you think you know it all. Research should preceed policy pronouncements.
    Free education policy is huge, you wonder whether he was prepared for it.
    Bottom up approach of things should be able to work better that top down way of doing things.
    Indeed upnd Kapya, you have baal will fix it all, and so subordinates can’t question their suppreme baal position and decision.
    You have the all wise pompwe guru where Cabinet becomes a lecture ground. Shouldn’t veteran Mutati be gnashing his teeth in cabinet?
    True, controlling Officers will have a tough time handling abuse issues without policy guidelines.

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  12. This Kapya Kaoma’s job, it would seem, is just criticise and criticise even when there’s no need to do so. Everybody knows that you can’t build a house without a foundation especially if the site was strewn with debris which you first have to clear to allow yourself to seriously embark on the project. Kaoma to me is just an impressionist.

  13. People like this guy is why Zambia is in this state. Silly, useless questions and failure to understand how things run but i do not blame him this administration should just outplay such critics. Everything is very possible and can work positively with our existing provisions and checks. All we need is to enforce

    I will start with the agriculture part, personally government was not very smart to announce that part they should have simply worked in the background and closed those arrears before the buying season starts. Its sad that our system allows to collect more than what they can pay for.

    On the Education lump sum, I dont see a problem here. You can start by equally distributing as they have done. Its up to the PS team to work fast within the year. If you are given more use what…

  14. If you are given more use what you need and report the excess and if less do the same. By the end of the day everyone will know what they need. The same for the CDF bursary allocation since it is a fixed percentage for all

  15. “President HH should have paid farmers within 60 days in office and announced the amount each school would receive the moment his administration declared free education in the nation!”
    Some articles are not worth reading further …if you can not admit that Lazy Lungu and his govt were shambolic and incompetent you wouldnt for one minute expect there to be a smooth transition where funds are available in the treasury..I mean this is govt that was renowned for gross misappropriation of funds.

  16. When people have no issues, they turn everything into an issue. Imagine someone not being happy to see you arrive safely at your destination just because you did not use the same mode of transport than they expected you to use. Or someone mad at you because you used a different method to attain the same results as he did.. this is what is pertaining on this article.

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