There will be moments of pain, says Nalumango

VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale Nalumango has told parliament that there will be moments of pain resulting from the removal of subsidies on fuel.

Responding to a question from leader of the opposition Brian Mundubile on why the government had backtracked after promising cheap fuel to the people, the Vice-President said the move would result in good livelihoods for Zambians.

“Your Honour the Vice-President, yesterday (Thursday), the new dawn government gave the Zambian people a big Christmas present – an increase in fuel prices. Your Honour the Vice-President, the people of Zambia voted for change on 12th August 2021. That change included reduced fuel prices as promised by President Hakainde Hichilema in his campaigns as may be evidenced through many scripts and campaign messages,” said Mundubile during the Vice-President’s Question Time in parliament as he lifted a copy of a newspaper print out. “Your Honour the Vice-President, the President promised to remove cartels and middlemen from the fuel supply chain which should result in reduced fuel prices. What happened yesterday is a completely different story – the fuel prices went up. In the recent past, Your Honour the Vice-President, the new dawn government has earned itself a reputation; a reputation of backtracking on its promises, a reputation of changing what they promised the Zambian people. This would include fuel prices, electricity tariffs and appointment of cadres in the civil service, among others. Now that you have earned yourselves this bad reputation as a government, why should the Zambian people continue trusting in the new dawn government?”

In response, Vice-President Nalumango compared the situation to an abscess that brings pain on a person when it is being squeezed, yet relief follows afterwards.
“Thank you Madam Speaker. And I would like to thank the honourable member who is leader of opposition and the honourable member for Mporokoso Constituency who wants to pretend that he cares for the Zambian people. Let us face reality, Madam Speaker,” she said. “I am sure the honourable member knows that to squeeze a boil you don’t have to look kind. If you continue on that path, then you want the leg or whichever part of the body to rot. That is our saying. There will be moments of pain, but our intention like I have said before standing here, is to make the livelihoods of Zambians better collectively, and it will happen.”

She said the UPND did not believe in backtracking as alleged by Mundubile.

Vice-President Nalumango advised against pretence.

“Madam Speaker, UPND does not backtrack on anything. The presidency of Hakainde Hichilema is highly focused. There’s no pretence. There’s no nothing. I think even last week we did speak to that. The intention of this government is to stabilise the economy. When the economy is stable, Madam Speaker, that means benefits start being seen,” Vice-President Nalumango continued. “But even with this, you know, it is, I’m careful to find words especially in English. When you know that you don’t have the money and you continuously borrow to subsidise like it was being done, I think the indebtedness to the effect of what we have borrowed on fuel was stated in this House. I don’t know whether the honourable is saying let’s continue until they come and grab even your wife because you have over borrowed. Is that the way we want to move?”

She called for honesty from opposition members in their criticism of government policies.

“Let us not mislead Zambians. This is a very focused government. Yes, I do understand that the turbulence that comes with the removal of the subsidy in the short term can look it’s very bad. Like when your boil is being squeezed, nobody praises a person who is squeezing your boil. But everybody must know that the end result will be something good,” she said. “What are we doing with this money? We are saying this is the same money that government needs to take into other critical areas. That includes, we’re talking free education here; we are freeing parents. Even a very poor parent in Mporokoso will have a child go to school. And that poor parent doesn’t even probably travel in the whole year.”

Vice-President Nalumango said the money raised from subsidy removal would result in many other benefits.

“That is the same money that we are going to redistribute even through CDF (Constituency Development Fund). It’s part of it. There’s a lot that this government is going to do. But, along the way, Madam Speaker, my relatives on that side will get very shocked because the economy will be so stable. The kwacha will continue to appreciate,” said Vice-President Nalumango. “And when that happens, that means indirectly the fuel price in terms of quality and the quantity of things you get out of that becomes better. Zambians should not be listening to honourable members who just want to criticise. They should have found a solution. Let them give us a solution. Is the solution to continue borrowing, is it the solution to continue until we lose even the little we have? No.”

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