Saasa calls for national indaba on economy

GOVERNMENT must organise an indaba which will be attended by professionals from both Government and the private sector to reflect on policy pronouncements and bring them to reality, Professor Oliver Saasa has said.

Professor Saasa said policy pronouncements from President Edgar Lungu on economic challenges needed an indaba to  reflect on them for a way forward.

He said an indaba would allow professional and senior Government officials to find lasting solutions to the current economic strong headwinds facing Zambia.

“I proposed an indaba myself and I am still sticking to that; you see, beyond all these policy pronouncements we need to put our heads together – professionals, captains of industry, operators, manufacturers and senior Government officials.

“We must sit and say ‘okay, now the President has spoken, how do we proceed’? Because if we do not look at the how, we will always get statements from Government without anything happening on the ground,” he said.

Prof Saasa noted that the situation on the ground demanded action not only policy pronouncements.

“In short, those are realities but what we need now in Government is really to urge the Head of State to start an indaba. The reality on the ground demands much action than statements from operators of industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prof Saasa also said there was need to intervene where possible in other sectors of the economy which was retrenching workers because it was not only mineworkers who were affected.

“The challenge we are having is that here we are focusing on the mines and giving them all these incentives, tax free, but I can tell you that there are more people outside the mines that presently are losing jobs and yet they are also Zambians,” he said.

He said the economy was not doing well and that there were challenges of labour on the Copperbelt but it was not only in the Copperbelt but also other parts of the country.

“The crisis is not only in the mines, it is only that mines are visible because they have been politicised and therefore people think it’s only the mines that are suffering.

“So when the price of fuel goes up and it’s about to go up, the prices of everything will go up and you cannot stop people from increasing,” he said.