PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu does not apply sufficient thought in making key appointments to his government, says Sean Tembo. Commenting on the dismissal of Margaret Mwanakatwe and subsequent appointment of Dr Bwalya Ng’andu as Minister of Finance on Sunday, Tembo said President Lungu’s casual tendency over management of national affairs coupled with his trial-and-error approach in making key appointments had been a recipe for disaster ever since he assumed office.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), we have noted the decision by President Lungu to replace Margaret Mwanakatwe with Dr Bwalya Ng’andu as Minister of Finance. From our point of view, the fact that we have had a very high turnover of finance ministers whereby in less than three years we‘ve had Alexander Chikwanda, Felix Mutati, Margaret Mwanakatwe and now Bwalya Ng’andu, is a verdict on President Lungu as the appointing authority,” Tembo said. “It is our considered view that President Lungu does not apply sufficient thought in making key appointments to his government. This casual tendency to the management of national affairs by President Lungu coupled with his trial-and-error approach in making key appointments has been a recipe for disaster ever since the advent of President Lungu’s presidency.”
Temb said PeP would be watching the performance of the new finance minister closely.
“The question of whether Dr Bwalya Ng’andu is an appropriate appointee for the position of finance minister will be answered by Dr Bwalya Ng’andu himself based on the quality of his decisions in the months ahead,” he said.
“However, the citizens can be assured that as Patriots for Economic Progress we shall be watching the performance of the new finance minister very closely and we shall not hesitate to point out any significant deficiencies that we note in the performance of his duties on behalf of the nation.”
Tembo said some of PeP’s key expectations from Dr Ng’andu would be to scrap the Sales Tax project and work on improving the Value Added Tax system. He expected Dr Ng’andu to consult with key stakeholders more widely before making key policy decisions as well as increase the allocations to the Zambia Revenue Authority, and allow the Authority increase its capacity to collect tax, especially from among foreign investors.
“Other expectation is that he will enforce fiscal discipline by avoiding wasteful government expenditure; that he will ensure policy consistency through adequate research on key policy decisions before their announcement; that he will build confidence among key market players especially those who trade in treasury bills and government bonds so as to increase the subscription rates for these securities etcetera,” Tembo said.
He appealed to President Lungu to give Dr Ng’andu enough latitude in policy formulation so that he can be fairly judged.
“It is worth noting that even the most brilliant finance minister cannot succeed if the appointing authority does not give them adequate latitude to formulate and implement policy decisions,” stated Tembo.
Prior to his appointment, Dr Ng’andu served as the Bank of Zambia deputy governor in charge of operations and registrar of banks and financial institutions.
Prior to joining BoZ, he served as a senior executive in various organisations among them as managing director of the Development Bank of Zambia, National Savings and Credit Bank, and International Capital Corporation, as well as Director General of the Zambia Investment Centre, Project Manager with the United Nations Office for Project Services, Associate Director with Coopers and Lybrand, and director of personnel with Barclays Bank Zambia Limited.
Dr Ngandu is a Rhodes scholar and holds a Doctorate degree in Applied Psychology from Cranfield University, a Master of Science degree in Ergonomics from the University of London, a Master of Philosophy degree in Economics from Monarch Business School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Business from the University of Zambia.
He qualified as an Associate of the Certified Institute of Bankers in 1992 and was elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in 1999 and the Zambia Institute of Banking and Financial Services in 2000.