ZAMBIANS should prepare for tough times ahead as a result of the austerity measures the Government is embarking on to resuscitate the economy, says People’s Alliance for Change president Andyford Banda. Mr Banda said that it was highly expected that the percentage of subsidies that would be removed on electricity and fertiliser would be equally high. He noted that the removal of the fuel subsidy had intensely affected the people because they were not adequately prepared for the impact. He said that people did not expect the removal to be as high as 30 percent and warned that it would really affect the day to day operations of people’s businesses Mr Banda explained that the subsidy removal would lead to an increase in commodity prices including those for other services. “Zambians should be well prepared for the tough times ahead because it is highly expected that the percentage that will be removed on electricity and fertiliser subsidies will be equally high. “So far the removal of the fuel subsidy has intensely affected the Zambian people because they didn’t expect such a high slash. This will lead to an increase in commodity prices and other services,” said Mr Banda. And Mr Banda wondered why the removal of subsidies on fuel was so high when Government had promised that the removal would be gradual. He advised that Government should be open and explain to the people about what was coming ahead so that they could prepare in advance. Mr Banda said that Government should also think of ways to empower people so that they were not adversely hit by the outcome. “If I knew fuel was going to be increased by 30%, I was going to reduce on my movements or maybe buy some more fuel in advance. “So if people understand the percentages of subsidies to be removed on fertiliser, mealie-meal and electricity they will be better prepared,” he said.