NEW Heritage Party president Chishala Kateka says the increase in interest rates coupled with increase in fuel prices and electricity tariffs will hurt the pockets of every Zambian household.
Commenting on Bank of Zambia governor Denny Kalyalya’s announcement to increase in the MPC rates from 8.5 per cent to nine per cent as well as hints at increasing fuel prices and electricity tariffs, Kateka noted that the proposed adjustments seem to go contrary to the UPND campaign promises of more jobs and a better economy.
She christened the UPND as the United Party for National Disappointment.
“On 24th November 2021, the Bank of Zambia governor announced the increase in the MPC rates from 8.5 per cent to nine per cent and in the same statement proposed an increase of fuel prices and electricity tariffs. The effects of these proposed adjustments seem to go contrary to the UPND campaign promises of more jobs and a better economy,” she said. “Last week, the New Heritage party dubbed the UPND as the United Party for National Disappointment with one of the key disappointments being the fact that they are hinging Zambia’s economic salvation on an IMF
Kateka said it is common knowledge that once engaged, the IMF begins to impose austerity measures amongst them the removal of subsidies.
“This is what we are seeing with the proposed increases of fuel and electricity tariffs. The increase in interest rates coupled with increase in fuel prices and electricity tariffs will hurt the pockets of every Zambian household,” she said. “For businesses it will mean less borrowing to invest in higher productivity and less employment as their costs begin to rise.”
Kateka further noted that the UPND government policies seem contradictory and counter intuitive stimulating growth and liquidity in the market.
She noted that three months down the line, the UPND are still not very clear with regard to the economic policy direction.
Kateka added that thus far, the UPND pronouncements and their actions seem to be at variance hence the confusion.
“It has been three months of UPND in power and we at New Heritage Party along with many other stakeholders are still not very clear with regard to the economic policy direction of this new dawn government,” she said. “As the New Heritage Party, our thinking is that the UPND could have focused on reducing the exchange rate and stimulating economic growth through higher productivity and lower cost of borrowing.”
Kateka wondered if increasing electricity tariffs was the only answer available on the UPND table.
“We ask the question, is increasing the electricity tariffs the only answer available to them? Have they considered dealing with serious in-house issues relating to Zesco as a priority? We haven’t heard anything about dealing with the Zesco issue. Does the UPND have any serious plans to put the country back on the right economic path? Is this a case of chimbwi no plan? we continue to watch this space,” said Kateka.