THE COVID-19 should not be used as an excuse by this failed government to claim that it is responsible for the poor performance of the economy, says Andrew Banda.
In a statement on the performance of Zambia’s economy amidst COVID-19, Andrew said the local economy had not been performing very well from the time PF took over government.
“When MMD was handing over power in 2011, the economy of Zambia was growing at about 6.5 to 7 per cent, the kwacha-dollar rate was K4.60 per 1 dollar and in the reserve at Bank of Zambia, the MMD left $3 billion. When PF took over government, most of the positive economic indicators gained over years by the previous government started pointing in the wrong direction,” he said.
He said the PF embarked on massive infrastructure development which cost the country billions of dollars of which 40 per cent was lost through corruption. Andrew said growth was projected at 2 per cent today and with the COVID-19, it would almost be negative.
He said other factors that have negatively impacted on the already fragile economy were not having free and fair elections, political instability, the use of the public order Act to stop opposition from providing checks and balances, continuous load-shedding, among others.
Andrew said Zambians should not forget that at the time of change of government in 2011, a bag of mealie-meal was K36.00, loaf of bread was K5.00, fertiliser was K100.00, fuel was K5.50 per litre and the food basket for a family of seven was about K4,000 per month.
He said Zambians should not be duped or hoodwinked into believing that the poor state of the economy was as a result of COVID 19.
“The PF and its leadership must therefore take responsibility and admit failure. Here we are now IMF has refused to give Zambia debt relief when countries like Malawi and others have qualified for debt relief and yet 20 years ago Malawi was not anywhere near Zambia in terms of credibility, democracy wise. Why the IMF has refused to give Zambia debt relief is simply because of serious corruption and not having free and fair election, among others. This makes some of us extremely angry because majority of our citizens who are poor are the ones to feel the pressure. Zambians know who has caused all this mess and how it has been done,” he said.
“The point that needs to be understood is that when PF wiped out the $3 billion in BoZ reserves they went borrowing heavily at the rate K8 to 9 per dollar and now with the failing economy and falling of the kwacha, they have to pay K20 per dollar, almost twice as much for the same dollar which is causing the shortage of kwacha on the market.”
Andrew urged the PF government to first of all concede failure and accept the offer made by former ministers of finance and Bank of Zambia governors Situmbeko Musokotwane, Ng’andu Peter Magande, and Dipak K. A Patel, Felix Mutati, Dr Caleb Fundanga and Dr Moses Banda to meet the minister of finance Bwalya Ng’andu to find ways and means of getting the economy back on track failure to which we are headed for total collapse.