ZAMBIANS don’t have that luxury of time to allow the PF to destroy the country any further by giving the ruling party another mandate in 2021, says NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba.
Akafumba observed that President Edgar Lungu at the just ended National Economic Summit in Livingstone did not address how he intends to deal with the country’s toxic debt.
Speaking during the plenary session of the inaugural National Economic Summit organised by the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) under the theme: ‘The Future of Economic Diplomacy: Supporting Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa’ held at the Avani hotel in Livingstone, former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said African countries should be able to repay their debt.
“In Tanzania, we have an audit management committee to look at every loan that we get and if it meets the required criteria, it has to have a concessional percentage and that concession should not be small. You need to look at the total loan criteria and total debt portfolio and GDP. Any country that gets a loan without the ability to pay back is crazy. You must have the capability to pay back the loan,” Kikwete said as the master of ceremony Franklin Tembo Jr cut him short and diverted him to a question of youths.
Finance minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu last week said Zambia’s external debt stock as at end June 2019 was US$10.23 billion compared to US $10.18 billion at end March 2019.
Domestic debt in terms of securities and bonds as at end June 2019 also rose to K60.3 billion compared to the end-March position of K58.3 billion, according to the government.
In an interview, Akafumba said former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete’s comments that it was crazy for any government to borrow without the capability to repay resonated very well with the PF government.
“The PF’s damage to the country’s economy needs more than a national economic summit but practical and proactive solutions…we will sit down with all economists and other financial experts to see how to undo the damage done by the rotten PF. This boat (PF) started sinking when President Lungu assumed power. Unfortunately, like any drowning person who can even try to grab a floating leaf to stay alive, the PF is also taking the country’s economy under the water with it,” he said
“But we have lifesavers in NDC-led by Chishimba Kamwbili and Zambians just need to show the PF the way out in 2021. Let’s show Lungu that the PF will not go beyond 2021 as he brags that he will go all the way to 2026. Zambians don’t have that luxury of time to allow the PF to destroy the country any further.”
Akafumba said the PF government must realise that it was crazy as said by Kikwete.
“Reading on what former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said about debts, I believe that his comments resonate very well with what our country is going through with the PF in power. His Excellency Kikwete said it is crazy for a government to borrow without the capacity to repay. For me, he was telling the PF government that they are crazy,” he said.
Akafumba said with regards the agriculture sector, the PF had failed to embark on research and invest in the sector.
He said the NDC would engage all economists and the Economics Association of Zambia once in power so as to see how best to undo the PF’s damage to the economy.
“We are grappling with a very toxic debt and yet the man goes to tell delegates to the summit about developmental projects which only benefit his PF minions with kick-backs. We have our citizens wallowing in abject poverty, our youths grappling with high unemployment rates and farmers not sure if the government still care about their sector at all,” said Akafumba.
“The World Farmers Organisation (WFO) president Dr Theo De Jager told the delegates at the economic summit that we have everything that money can’t buy in people, water and soil, but he also noted that we have not done what money can buy in terms of technological advancements. I can assure you that this fell on deaf PF ears. Our farmers, especially in Southern and Eastern provinces, are facing hunger and the government is silent. Anyway, what do you expect from a bunch of people who don’t take advice on how to govern the country better? I took President Lungu’s comment to President Kikwete that he will seek his guidance on how best to govern, it sounded as a joke being told by a four-year-old girl.”