By Dr Lubinda Haabazoka
The truth about Zambia’s economic emancipation
In order for Zambia to develop, we need to encourage a mixed economy. The private sector has to do its part but the state has to take a huge role and lead economic transformation! There is no country in the world that has ever developed by chance. No country has ever developed by guessing which areas FDI will come to.
When you look at Zambia’s history, most of the infrastructure was built under a command economy. Kaunda did much better than those that came after him because he had control over Zambia’s major forex inflows, control over Zambia’s main industries etc! Kaunda failed not because he failed but such an economic system was fought by the west! Kaunda was trying to build communism which he termed humanism. All such forms of economic systems were fought by the west using the IMF and World bank! If Cuba was not under sanctions, it would have been the most developed country in the world today!!! Citizens were not kind enough to help Kaunda overcome such troubles, citizens rioted and he panicked and allowed economic reforms that weakened his standing. Gorbachev in USSR made the same perestroika mistake! Chiluba came in and completely sold off the little industries that we had that could sustain job creation, value addition among others! what trade kings is doing today, kaunda was doing with grade 5s as General Managers!!!! we could have just improved on efficiency, cut corruption and we would have been second only to china!
China learnt all the mistakes made by countries like Zambia and the then soviet union and modified their economy into a modern day socialist state! very few people know that France, Germany, Austria, Norway, Finland and even the UK are socialist states! These countries have government control over much of housing, transportation, mining and drilling among others. The same way we had ZCCM and UBZ including mulungushi travellers! I have never healed after the destruction of ZCCM! I hope one day, it will be revived!!!
Back to Zambia, the Bank of Zambia and Ministry of finance have no instruments to sustain this economy! Trust me on this one! Their hands are really tied even on the kwacha because they cant dictate to anyone how much copper and cobalt to mine so that we get the forex to support the kwacha!
Look at Russia, Putin is able to dictate how much oil and to whom to sell so as to sustain their budget. Under sanctions, Russia is booming! Why? They control their economy! Even private oil companies follow suit because they are russian citizen owned and see it as their patriotic calling to help the state. But in Zambia, everything is foreign owned! The mistake we are making is to give access to foreign companies to our road infrastructure, energy sector among others! We dont own the major mines and therefore we have no control over the kwacha and therefore can’t diversify the economy!
We are in such a sad situation that the only jobs we are creating are for teachers! A healthy economy is the one that creates blue collar jobs in manufacturing, mining, agriculture and other sectors! We need products for export! We might end up like Nigeria where phd holders just say books on the streets! We need to create value addition jobs!
Unfortunately for Zambia we are losing time because, the young population is growing and we are not creating jobs to come and keep them busy! We need to come up with a Zambian economic plan away from those unproductive textbooks that people learnt from! Unfortunately it’s impossible to come to a consensus because the enemy has divided you into political groupings!
Despite the fact that you all jumped from unip to MMD, then some moved to PF and others into UPND, and then again moved from one party to the other, you have the myth that you are different and should fight each other to death instead of coming together to develop the country! This is not an Arsenal vs Man United argument! This is a country we are talking about whose currency is fast moving to early retirement age!
History will judge you harshly! Just last week some guys said I could not speak at a forum because they were not going to like what I was going to say! what kind of reasoning is that? Such people are the reason we are in trouble! Hiding the truth!!!
Our debt is not big! its a small issue if we put our heads together! I used to say that in the past and I say it now!!!!
We need to be patriotic!!!!!
Zambia for whom?