Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Position Taken by ZCTU against Fuel Subsidies is Shocking


By Hon Yotam Mtayachalo MP for Chama North

First and foremost I’m compelled to respond as a former labour leader and as well as a representative of the people to the statement attributed to my friend Mr Chishimba Nkole who is Zambia Congress of Trade Unions President (ZCTU) in which he is quoted urging the government not to succumb to pressure to reintroduce fuel subsidies in view of skyrocketing price of crude oil on the international market.

This statement is shocking to say the least because it ought not to come from a seasoned trade union leader because the removal of fuel subsidies affect more the working class and the most vulnerable in society because those who controls the means of production merely transfer the cost to consumers.

Further Mr Nkole should realize that the high cost of fuel triggers the high cost of living and doing business in the country and as such employers are reluctant to increase salaries and wages because of increased overhead costs which affect their profit margins.

By and large the cost of basic needs have skyrocketed in the last few months hence eroding the purchasing power of the workers which I feel should worry the labour movement more importantly that there is no corresponding increase in salaries and wages especially in the public sector.

Furthermore the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) should be alive to the fact that almost all countries in the world have maintained fuel or energy subsidies including oil exporting countries such as Angola ($3.5bn) Nigeria ($26bn) and Saudi Arabia ($45bn) just to mention but a few in order to protect jobs and forestall the high cost of living and doing business besides these countries have higher per capita incomes than Zambia as the majority of zambians live on less than 50cents per day.

Therefore who are we not to cushion the negative impact brought about by the escalating price of crude oil on the international market and as such leaving everything to market forces to determine the price of fuel which is cost reflective may lead to far reaching negative economic consequences and needless to say that it may give rise to industrial unrests and political instability because the price of goods and services would be beyond the reach of many ordinary Zambians.

In conclusion as long as the price of crude oil continues to skyrocket to unsustainable levels in light of the raging conflict between Russia and Ukraine,the government may be left with no option but to reintroduce fuel subsidies or suspend certain taxes on fuel and perhaps eliminate middle men in the supply chain for the purpose of ensuring that petroleum products are affordable to the majority of citizens because the energy sector is key to the economic development of the country and as such the government has an obligation to protect it’s citizens from the high cost of living and doing business in the country by putting in place intervention measures.
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  1. I agree with Mutayachalo. At the time the labour movement was very strong and enjoyed support from the Government, UNIP sustained subsidies on almost all essential commodities. The removal of subsidies and the so called free market policies weakened the labour movement. Workers now know on whose side their leaders are. They have chosen the side of the bread that’s buttered. They are serving themselves. Unions are now springboards to jump out of poverty by the leaders. Workers are orphaned

  2. This is an MP talking? Clearly he was sleeping during economy classes. What the country needs is STABILITY not yoyo governing with subsidies in subsidies out. Get the IMF deal going guys, don’t sit on your hands!

  3. These union labour leaders of nowadays are just a joke. Just because you are being paid by government, you decide to crucify the very people in workers you are supposed to represent, just because your belly is being filled at the expense of the workers and the poor. What a shame?

  4. The mentioned ztcu official can’t say anything to the contrary because he’s compromised and he can easily be added to the list of people the ACC is pursuing. Enough said..we in Kitwe know.

  5. The MP is off mark, where does the govt milk the money from to subsidize the high cost of fuel because the Budget is already set nd being implemented and were told that the removed fuel subsidy will be diverted to other needy areas such social cash transfer, Bursaries, CDF etc. Mr. Nkole is seeing light at the end of the tunnel which is color blind to vocal MP Yptam Mtayachalo.

  6. Where does the MP hope to source the funding of the subsidies?. Since when has Zambia started producing Oil?. Wishful thinking.! Did UNIP and PF manage to fund Subsidies? Remember UNIP Debt? And now PF Debt!

  7. It is suprising how sometimes suppress the truth and emphasize on the things we want to hear. Our minister of finance signed an did suspending all taxes on petroleum products in January this year. Those are subsidies. What other subsidies are we looking for? Has our govt really done away with subsidies?

  8. High pump prices means higher costs for industries and farming as well as transport. It’s either we subsidize or start paying people more. By the way, we are feeling it in the west too except our salaries are decent.

  9. A little knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge at all. Stronger and resilient economies like Botswana and SA have increased fuel prices. Populist politics has destroyed this country. So are we going to beg for debt restructuring, fuel subsidies, fertilizer subsidies, drugs subsidies etc. Can someone please suggest were govt should FIND money to subsidise fuel. Maybe scrap/reduce farmer input support or CDF. I don’t know!

  10. Paid opportunitys will always support government whatever they do because they were part of them but let us be realistic things are moving like chimbwi no plan

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