Bank of Zambia governor Michael Gondwe must immediately step down as governor of the Central Bank because Zambians no longer require his poor services Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi has demanded.
And Ms Nawakwi has advised the PF government to quickly resolve the declared disputes by all the ten public service workers unions in order to avoid a countrywide strike.
“If this labour dispute is not quickly resolved, it may result into countrywide strikes. The consequences of such industrial unrest are too ghastly to contemplate,” Ms Nawakwi said.
The FDD president said the escalating prices of essential goods and services that had been triggered by the depreciation of the kwacha were eroding the value of the salaries of workers due to the diminishing purchasing power of the kwacha.
“It is for this reason that we are calling upon the government to immediately lift the wage freeze and honour the 2013 collective agreement,” Ms Nawakwi said.
Ms Nawakwi further accused Dr Gondwe of lacking the basic understanding of the economic matrix and financial market operations.
“Dr Gondwe, our central bank governor is a lawyer by profession and is therefore the wrong person to have as governor of the Central Bank,” Ms Nawakwi said.
She has warned that if the depreciation of the kwacha was not quickly arrested, Zambia would find itself in the Zimbabwe or Greek situation because the purchasing power was evaporating each day.
Ms Nawakwi challenged Dr Gondwe to explain why the opening rate of the kwacha each morning was higher than the closing rate of the previous day.
“The continued depreciation of the kwacha against the major convertible currencies was adversely impacting on the lives of the majority of our people as the prices of essential goods and services such as mealie meal, water, electricity, transport and housing have kept on rising beyond the reach of the majority of our people,” Ms Nawakwi observed.
She said Zambians should expect the price of fuel to go up because of the 24 per cent electricity tariff increase by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB).
“At the rate we are moving, we expect the price of fuel to go up soon. And that will worsen the poverty situation many households are living in,” Ms Nawakwi said.
She said BOZ told the nation that the kwacha was depreciating because of speculative behaviour among players and Central Bank said people should desist from speculating with the kwacha to halt the current free fall of the local currency.
“This is the latest of the many cheap excuses this government has been giving us since the kwacha started its downward spiral,” Ms Nawakwi said.
She said PF government told the nation that the kwacha was losing value due to the falling copper price then changed and said the kwacha was depreciating due to their ill-timed Statutory Instrument No. 33 and N. 55.
“Then the story changed yet again that the Kwacha was losing its value due to the so called capital projects which the government was undertaking. As if that was not enough the government invented another excuse saying the kwacha was depreciating because of some imaginary cartel,” she said.
Ms Nawakwi said it was not fair for the governor to blaming the so called speculators for the depreciation of the kwacha.
“It is clear to all of us that the kwacha has continued to lose its value due to the lack of sound fiscal and monetary policy by the PF government coupled with the ill prepared individuals who are managing our economy,” Ms Nawakwi said.