By Fanny Kalonda
Socialist Party president Fred M’membe says the ruling party is in distress to show that they have done something positive as they clock one year in office.
Featuring on Radio Icengelo’s Special programme on national matters on Friday, Dr M’membe said government has pushed in a supplementary budget, because next month they are clocking one year and they need to show that something good is happening in their administration.
“For the few days we have been on the Copperbelt, we have spoken to many people; people from the market, people from the trade union, teachers, nurses, religious leaders who have no jobs, we have spoken to people from businesses big and small, the story is that all are crying. Things are not well, it is not us talking, it’s them saying that,’’ he said in Kitwe. ‘’Those in markets are saying they are no longer selling what they used to sell, quantities have gone down. I asked them why have the quantities of what you are selling gone down? The answer is, people are no longer eating the number of meals that they used to have. Those who used to have three meals have reduced to having one meal. It means the quantities they are supplying everyday have reduced,’’ Dr M’membe said further. ‘’If the quantities they are buying have reduced, then the quantities that those are selling on the market have reduced. And if what we are selling has reduced, then we are saying… We all made promises as we were campaigning for the 2021 elections on how we were going to change things. Those who are in power today were saying, they will fix it. The slogan was ‘Bally will fix it’. They will reduce the prices of mealie meal to K50, they will reduce the price of fuel by K2.50, they will reduce the price of fertilisers;; they promised many things. Surely, liars talk more but deliver very little. Fingi balaile (they promised so much), they haven’t delivered. Today they are hanging on to the recruitment of health workers; 11, 000, with over 130,000 applying for those 11,000 jobs. Today they are hanging on to the employment of 30,000 teachers, these are things they never promised.”
And Dr M’membe said employing in government is not difficult to do, what is difficult is to create jobs in the agricultural sector and creating industries.
“Today they are hanging on to the employment of 30,000 teachers. These are things that are not in their manifesto and these are things that are not difficult to do. There is no difficulty in employing government workers. What is difficult is creating jobs for the agriculture sector, creating new industries, creating new service lines; those are difficult things in the private sector,’’ he explained. ‘’How many jobs have they created in the areas that they promised to create jobs? How many jobs have they created? Many people in the private sector today are crying, those in businesses both small and big are crying. Business is not doing well. The economy is not doing well. Yes, they are showing that inflation is going down, they are showing that the Kwacha is appreciating, what have they done to that.’’
He explained economic manouvres government is making which are reducing inflation.
‘’It’s abracadabra, they are simply reducing the money supply. When you reduce the money supply you reduce demand; demand for the dollar, for the foreign currencies. Demand for the goods and services, and that pushes the rate of inflation down,’’ Dr M’membe said. ‘’And it is not that inflation has really gone down, inflation is still increasing but at a slightly lower rate of 9.9 per cent. But inflation is still increasing at lower rate of 9.9, it has not stopped, it is like driving a car, you were driving at 150km/h, you start driving at 130km/h. Have you stopped? You are still moving at a fast speed, but you have reduced the rate at which you are moving from 150km/h to 130km/h. You are not reversing, you are still going forward, that is what is happening. It will have side effects to this, you are trying to achieve the lower rate of inflation, but at the same time you are hurting so many things, there is no production that has increased, there is no sector that is performing better than it was before.’’
And Dr M’membe described government’s supplementary budget as a way to appease people.
“They have pushed in a supplementary budget. Why? Next month they are clocking one year and they need to, show that something good is happening. That is why they are hanging on to the recruitment of 30,000 teachers which also has so many problems,’’ said Dr M’membe. ‘’They have created veritable chaos but they want to show that they have done something. They are saying there is a surplus, how do you have a surplus when you have a fiscal deficit, in the same budget of 10 percent. How do you claim that there is a surplus when you are failing to service your debt, debt repayment is still a problem? They are still failing to pay suppliers to government. Contractors are still failing to pay them, where is the surplus coming from? They are simply in a desperate situation to show something positive, that they have done something.’’