UPND HAVE BEEN LYING…we thought they had the idea, plan – KBF
By Fanny Kalonda
ZAMBIA Must Prosper president Kelvin Fube Bwalya says the 2023 national budget is a populist one to make UPND look good.
He argued that the UPND lost it when they agreed to IMF conditions and end up framing a consumption-oriented budget.
“They are not thinking straight. They have had one year plus now. We gave them time. This is their budget. Last year, they could probably argue and say ‘that was a PF budget or part thereof’,” Bwalya said. “But this is their budget. Is this the best they can come up with? I’m disappointed. We thought they had it in the bag. We thought they had the idea. They have been lying all this time, you and I know. They were lying, they lied because they were so desperate to get into power.”
Featuring on Diamond TV’s Costa programme on Sunday, Bwalya said the new dawn administration lost the game the point they gave a consumption budget to Zambians.
He said the UPND had enough time to plan when they were in opposition and “this shows lack of policy direction”.
Bwalya argued that the employment of an additional 4,500 teachers and 3,000 health workers is not creation of employment but filling in vacancies.
He said the budget has not indicated production but has chosen to continue with the same mining regimes they introduced last year.
“Whenever a budget is presented, the first things you should look at are the indicators and one of the greatest indicators is what is going to stimulate growth. If sweet language, flowery language was what to go by then this is a very sweet budget. But this is not going to make Zambia move. This is a stagnation budget. It is not going to move us anywhere. It is not to make us prosper. It is not going to give us movement in terms of job creation. It terms of stimulation in the mining sector, energy sector, tourism, manufacturing, no,” he said. “This is one of those budgets, which is consumption oriented. I had time to read the budget part of yesterday and today, and I am sorry to say to the Zambians, this is not a budget that you would have expected from a party that was in opposition for over 21 plus years. And with 15 years being run by an economist as president, in the name of Hakainde Hichilema and now a current Republican President. This is not the kind of thinking we want to see in terms of leadership.”
Last Friday, finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane unveiled a K167.3 billion budget representing 31.4 per cent of gross domestic product.
But Bwalya said the government lost it on the negotiating table when they agreed to the terms and conditions of the IMF “thereby giving Zambians a consumption budget”.
“The difficulty we have here is an economist as President who told Zambians he had solutions. 15 years as head of opposition, now as head of government. You should have answers now. What answers do you have? Nothing on the table! Nothing to sing home about. Let’s talk about agriculture, fisheries, livestock. They’re talking of recreating, reopening farm blocks. What’s that?” he wondered. “In politics, you lose your negotiation at the negotiating table. And this government lost its negotiations when it was negotiating with the IMF on the negotiation table. The moment they agreed the terms and conditions which were given, the moment they agreed that they were going to do a consumption budget, the moment they agreed that they were going to remove subsidies on electricity, on fuel, and then give a consumption budget to the Zambian people, they lost the game. Mining according to the minister accounts for 17.5 per cent of our GDP in this country, and you’re not taxing the mines. What are you doing to the Zambians? What are you saying? What are you saying to Zambian people who you’re supposed to be visiting? What are you saying? Tax holiday? Nobody does that to the biggest foreign exchange earner in your country. You give tax holiday! They are continuing with the tax regime, which they had since last year? What does that mean?”