Be bold and address PF failures, Pande tells Chikwanda

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda must not hunt for excuses on the free fall of the Kwacha but must address real economic failures that have caused the Zambian currency to be rated among the worst performing currencies of the world and second worst after the Ukrainian currency, former foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande has advised.

Pande said Chikwanda should be sincere and acknowledge that the Kwacha was depreciating at its fastest rate in history because of the bad economic policies that were being pursued and implemented by the Patriotic Front (PF) government.

Pande said as Chikwanda would be addressing the nation today at a media briefing over the continued and speedy free fall of the Kwacha, he should ensure that confidence was restored to the donor community and  investors because the ruling party’s erratic policy pronouncements had scared away a lot of investors.

The Finance Minister is today expected to address the nation for the first time through a media briefing and it is the expectation of the general citizenry, the donor community and the investors that he will explain what has caused the Kwacha to have plummeted and what government was doing to halt the depreciation.

Pande who is MMD Kasempa Member of Parliament, said investors and donors had become extremely uncomfortable with the erratic policies of the PF government which he said had, made it difficult to determine which economic and ideological policies the ruling party was advancing.

He said that the MMD left a buoyant economy which the PF could have easily used to continue to build the country but that it was disappointing that the ruling party had embarked on a destruction process because of vengeance and retribution vices that were being used as principles of governance.

He explained that the PF had an opportunity to learn from the mistakes the MMD had made while in government but that the leadership had decided to adopt an arrogant and antagonistic style of running the country where anyone who criticized them was a pariah.

“As Mr Chikwanda addresses the nation through a media briefing today, he must not look for  excuses why our Kwacha has suddenly become the worst performing  of African currencies and second worst from the Ukrainian in the world. He must be sincere and admit that it is because of the bad policies being pursued by his government that donors and investors have  grown cold.  Their policies have been shifting like the wind and we are confused to understand as to what economic and ideological policies they are pursuing and implementing,’ Pande said.

He has advised government to consider revoking the Statutory Instrument (SI) 55 saying the law had caused a lot of panic among investors and the private sector in the country,

He said with the dollar becoming more expensive and the inflation rate shooting every day, Zambians should brace themselves for harder times because soon the pump price for fuel would be increased.

He said the increase in the pump price of fuel would automatically have the ripple economic effect on the basic wellbeing of the majority poor Zambians especially that the PF government had unilaterally removed subsidies on fuel and maize.