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TRUE WE’VE BORROWED…but for a good reason – Wina

 

VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina yesterday said it is true that the PF government has borrowed but claims it is for good reasons. During the Vice-President’s Question Time in Parliament yesterday, Katombora UPND member of parliament Derrick Livune reminded Vice-President Wina that her government had borrowed a lot of money to do capital projects, among them the construction of 650 clinics.

“[But] the Kazungula share [for rural health posts], zero deliverance, as at now. We have heard of Mazabuka; the roads are not done, Choma they are not done, Sinazongwe they are not done. The contractors, in some cases, have demobilised,” complained Livune.

“I want her Honour to explain the relationship [between] borrowed funds for particular functions but no deliverables, meanwhile the contractor has demobilised. Where has the money gone?”

The Vice-President responded that it is true that “this government has borrowed and has borrowed for good reasons.”

“That’s why you see the 650 health posts; they have been completed in some areas and the work is still ongoing [in others]. There was a stop somewhere due to other factors. But all the 650 health posts will be completed. Borrowing for the sake of borrowing and consumption is different from borrowing for development and this is what has happened in this administration,” Vice-President Wina explained.

“We have borrowed, we don’t deny it and we borrowed for a good reason. That’s why you see good roads where you see them, that’s why you see good structures where you see them, that’s why we have a new provincial headquarters in Choma because we had to borrow this money to put up these structures.”

Vice-President Wina added that Zambians would be proud, “few years from now” when all infrastructural ‘developments’ are completed.

“[They will] know that yes, there was a government that addressed issues of infrastructure in the country where nothing was available. We are proud to ride on good roads where there were potholes, we are proud our children are now sitting properly on desks in secondary schools,” Vice-President Wina said.

 

Meanwhile, the Vice-President gave blurred responses in Parliament on the stalled construction works for Mongu Stadium and Kasaba Bay Airport. On April 19, 2013, president Michael Sata went to Mongu to launch the construction of an ultra-modern stadium – the first in Western Province. There is, however, nothing to write home about insofar as the construction of the stadium. Mongu Central UPND member of parliament Dr Mwilola Imakando said: “president Michael Sata promised the people of Western Province a 20,000-seater ultra-modern stadium.”

“The site was cleared; there was a big ceremony to mark the ground-breaking. May her Honour the Vice-President, please, update the people of Western Province with regards to this project.”

In response, Vice-President Wina, who at the time of the groundbreaking ceremony was Nalolo PF member of parliament (just under 10 kilometres away from Mongu town), agreed that: “indeed, the father of PF (Sata) promised the people a stadium.”

“Not only promising [but] he went there to break the ground for the stadium. Unfortunately, during that time, there were a lot of wrangles between the contractors and government officials,” Vice-President Wina answered.

“Unfortunately, the project did not take off and in the process, the funds that were allocated for that project might have been diverted to other projects and I’m not very sure…. I’ll investigate to find what happened with the money that was given to the project. Thank you.”

Chimbamilonga PF member of parliament Hastings Chansa asked when construction works for Kasaba Bay Airport in Mpulungu would be completed. Kasaba Bay Airport serves Nsumbu National Park on Lake Tanganyika in Northern Province. In his question, Chansa indicated that about 50 to 60 per cent of works at the airport were done but that construction works had been “abandoned to date.”

Vice-President Wina, in her response, told the House that the development of Kasaba Bay Airport was part of the government’s focus in terms of improving tourism in the country’s northern circuit.

“Currently, there were some discussions regarding participation of the private sector of PPP (public private partnership) arrangement. I’m not very sure about the abandonment of some works there,” said Vice-President Wina.

“But I would like the minister responsible for tourism to work with the Minister of Infrastructure so that we bring to the House concrete information of not only the improvements at Kasaba Bay but the government focus on developing the northern circuit of the country, in terms of tourism.”

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