Indeco returns

It is not the grandiose capital projects that will develop this country.

On the contrary it is only carefully planned investment in the productive capacities of the people that will create, employment and the requisite momentum and activity that will generate general well being.

The Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) was forced to dismantle the parastatal United Bus Company of Zambia (UBZ), to allow the hundreds of mini buses to ply the roads of Zambia and in the process create jobs and bring money into the pockets of the investors.

It did not require the creation of Indeco to create jobs. It required the dismantling of Indeco and the creative rechanneling of energies into the Zambian people to create thousands of jobs through private initiatives

It is true that the loss making UBZ created jobs, but these were created at a cost. The jobs did not make any return on the investment because the company never made a profit. Instead it was dependent on the Government.

Had UBZ been allowed to continue to operate at the time when the private sector was allowed to import small buses- the results would have been obvious. Private business would have failed because UBZ could have afforded to operate inefficiently, lower prices and generally remain un-competitive because they would have recourse to Government coffers.

That is why the idea of Indeco at this time and place is not particularly welcome.

In the last 20 years the mantras has been for Government to provide the enabling environment to give Zambians an opportunity to enter business and grow. The main drawback has been the lack of capital leading to the demand that some of the money that Government has been borrowing including the Eurobond should have been invested in a special development account for Zambian businessmen and women.

Experience has shown that, given an opportunity Zambians are prepared to rise to the occasion and compete with the very best anywhere in the world.  Indeed we have Zambians in the country and beyond the borders that have excelled in technical, commercial and art fields- many spurred by their own steam.

These are the people in whom the Government should invest. It must provide enabling funding, special training and upgrading of capacities in order to create a pool and reservoir that will create a forward momentum for development.

Grandiose projects, are exactly that grandiose and beyond the reach and touch of ordinary people. It will be unfortunate if paved roads pass by townships that have no running water or flushing toilets. These huge projects will mean nothing, if the ordinary people continue to wallow in unsanitary conditions and the few businessmen see foreigners externalize the money spent on projects they.

These projects will instead become a source of resentment.