THE Green Party has supported the stance taken by the PF government to introduce austerity measures in light of the shrinking resource base of the country.
Party president Peter Sinkamba said Minister of Finance Felix Mutati conceded in his maiden 2017 national Budget speech presented to Parliament that the total export earnings have significantly declined.
Mr Sinkamba said earnings from copper have fallen to US$3.2 billion from US$4 billion while non-traditional export earnings declined to US$1.3 billion from US$1.6 billion.
He said total export earnings for Zambia in nine months this year (January to September) totalled US$4.5 billion on average, this works out at US$0.5 billion (US$500 million) per month.
Mr Sinkamba said most export earnings for Zambia for 2016 would only hit a paltry US$6 billion and the country’s GDP has fallen from US$28 billion in 2015 to US$22 billion in 2016.
“These figures surely demonstrate that the economy is in a mess and it is, therefore, justified that Government implements measures that optimise resource allocation and use,” Mr Sinkamba said.
He said the other good measure made by President Edgar Lungu was to cut his salary by 50 percent and his basic salary was around K36, 000 or US$3,600 per month and reducing it by 50 percent brings it to around K18, 000 or US$1,800 per month.
The opposition president suggested that the most beneficial measure that the President should have put in place was to cut his trips abroad like what his counterpart in Tanzania had done.
Mr Sinkamba stated that President John Magufuli had literary suspended his trips abroad as a cost-saving measure and indeed millions of dollars have been saved and invested in health, education and other more deserving service delivery lines.