Copperbelt economically sick, desolate – Dr Musumali
By Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION Socialist Party General Secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali says Copperbelt Province is economically sick and desolate due to inept leadership exhibited by the Patriotic Front government.
Speaking during a media briefing at the Party provincial office in Kitwe on Sunday Dr Musumali said the prospect of emancipation for most people was doomed as their micro economic status was deteriorating by the day.
Dr Musumali said the growing trade imbalance was further supressing any economic activities in the country.
“Because of this poor economy, there are those late payments of salaries for the people, people are not being paid on time. And that is why you have contractors going bankrupt because government is not able to meet its obligations,” Dr Musumali said.
“Generally, this country is about to ground to a halt, Zambia has started paying back external debt and as we pay this reckless acquired debt, we are not able to ensure that all other obligations can be addressed at a right time and sufficiently”.
He said those in power may not feel the impact of none payment of salaries as they were leaving on allowances with high pay slips while for the ordinary worker a delayed salary even for three days caused so much misery as their social obligations fall due.
“When the salary for the ordinary person is delayed even for three days it’s a disaster for the family. For the pensioners who have to wait months, a year to get their pensions it’s disastrous,” Dr Musumali said.
He said it was inconceivable that young people who completed their grade 12 were unable to collect their certificates due to outstanding debts with schools, and as a result they cannot be recognised or considered for any job opportunities that require minimum educational qualifications.
Dr Musumali added that there was no sector of the Zambian economy today that had been spared as those in leadership were not providing solutions because they had no vision on how to come out of the current situation.
“We have given them free advice from time to time. We have told them to stop and check what you are doing. Reconcile your figures. They even get lost in terms of how much they owe the international community, how much they owe domestically, we told them, get your books right and you can’t be living on debt,” he said.
Dr Musumali advised government to urgently renegotiate to restructure the debt they have contracted at a very high cost to a repayment period of between 5-10 years.
He urged government to come up with austerity measures that would build confidence in the economy, which should include cutting down foreign travel costs by 70 percent, efficient and prudent management of the government fleet that was currently consuming colossal sums of money.
“We have provided concrete solutions from time to time on how the fleet, the transportation, the cost of air travel and land travel can be rationalized but we were not listened to,” Dr Musumali said. “….. they are spending millions and millions on workshops – a decision that can be done in 8 hours are being postponed so that workshops are conducted and those workshops are nothing other than ways of generating extra income for the individuals”.