The post Zambia Doesn’t Need the IMF, says ZESCO Chairman appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> Recent calls from members of the opposition the government of President Edgar Lungu and calling for the intervention of a bailout package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has prompted a response from Mbita Chitala, the chairman of ZESCO.
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr. Chitala argued the following:
The prescription suggested by those colleagues that our government adopts a humiliating IMF programme when we know that such a scheme would bring untold suffering, instability and worsen the poverty in our country is not smart at all.
The neo liberal is dead. Such a humiliating programme would mean surrendering our governance to Washington technocrats, reducing public investment in health and education, stopping deficit financing to tackle any recession, place our trade unions to be at war with the state as we reduce the wage bill, freeze wages and salaries, eliminate subsidies to our small farmers FISP, petroleum, electricity, education etc which will tend to increase poverty and cost of living, abandon most capital expenditure such as construction of roads, schools, clinics and public goods such as Kafue Lower Power etc, further selling off to foreigners of our strategic companies and institutions such as NAPSA, ZESCO etc that will result in more unemployment and underemployment, reducing recurrent budget spending on goods and services that will mean weakening the state and making it vulnerable, devaluation of the Kwacha and increasing costs in our economy.
All these negative social outcomes will lead to people rage as Africa and other developing countries witness in the 80 and 90s leading into state instability and downfall of governments.
There is a solution to all this. We need to have our own developmental state as the Eastern Asian dragons and China have demonstrated.
We can still go to International capital markets or bilateral partners to contract long term debt. There is nothing wrong with this.
More importantly we should have our own middle class on which our development will be anchored. We must have our own cobalt and copper mines owned by Zambians.
We must rejuvenate our manufacturing and agro business. We must stop capital flight and introduce smart capital controls.
We must create employment creating programmes such as the national service, small enterprise promotion, local banks etc.
We have largely not been successful so far because we failed to be patriotic, never provided incentives for our people to save, invest and innovate and so we are poor because our leaders so far have made this choice.
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The post Govt plans to raise health spending appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> Finance Minister Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu says the Zambian Government has committed itself to progressively increase the budget allocation for health care services.
Dr. Ng’andu said this year, 13.43 per cent of the budget allocation for health care services is for primary health care needs.
He said this at a signing ceremony between Zambia and Japan for the exchange of notes on the project for Japan’s Grant Aid “Economic and Social Development Programme” – procurement of health centre kits.
“Firstly, allow me to express our gratitude to the government of Japan for the continued support to the Zambian government in efforts to uplift the health and living standards of our people. Your support, as reflected in this project, is yet again a clear indication of your unwavering commitment,” Dr Ng’andu said.
“You may wish to note that the government of Zambia has in the past benefited from a similar grant where the Japanese government procured health centre kits for the ministry of health and the support went a long way in addressing the shortages of medicines. I wish to state that the commodities were equitably distributed.”
He further indicated that through the signing of these exchange of notes, Japan will provide a grant of 300 million yen or US$2.82 million to finance the procurement of health centre kits to respond to the immediate primary health care needs of the citizens.
Dr. Ng’andu said the government recognizes that a strong health system, through use of primary health care approach, is a cornerstone to meeting vision 2030 aspiration.
“My government has further acknowledged that kits are an effective solution to healthcare challenges because they provide a guaranteed package of key essential medicines in the right quantities at the right time for most people especially in rural areas,” said Dr Ng’andu.
“To adequately cater for primary health care needs of the present Zambian population, about 2,500 health centre kits is required per month. Therefore, the procurement of health centre kits by the Japanese government will assist the Zambian government through the ministry of health to respond to the immediate health commodity needs.”
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The post Anglo American faces class action lawsuit over Kabwe lead poisoning appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> Anglo American is facing a huge class lawsuit for its past corporate practices over lead poisoning in Zambia’s Kabwe town.
Johannesburg-based attorneys Mbuyisa Moleele and London-based human rights law firm Leigh Day are preparing the case and an application to certify a class action will be filed in the Johannesburg High Court.
This is seen as a necessary first step in a class action against Anglo-American.
Indian mining giant Vedanta Resources which the Zambian government does not want any more, is also connected to Anglo American.
The case of lead contamination involving Anglo stems from health issues linked to Kabwe, which Leigh Day said in a statement was once the world’s largest lead mine and operated from around 1915 until its closure in 1994. The law firm said Anglo owned and operated the mine from 1925 to 1974.
However, the diversified miner argues that the operation was nationalised and has been operated by the government for two decades.
Anglo American was one of the six companies involved in the R5bn silicosis class-action case in SA brought on behalf of former gold miners made ill by inhaling silica dust.
“The purpose of the action will be to secure compensation for victims of lead poisoning, including the cost of an effective medical monitoring system for blood lead levels among the community,” the two firms said in a statement on Friday.
They argue the mine was “owned and operated and/or managed” by Anglo American SA between 1925 and 1974 — the operation’s “most productive period”.
“It is alleged that from 1925 to 1974, Anglo American SA played a key role in the management of the medical, engineering and other technical services at the mine, and that it failed to take adequate steps to prevent lead poisoning of the local residents,” the lawyers said.
The mine was closed in 1994, after it was nationalised and taken from Anglo in 1974.
In its defence, Anglo said on Friday it was “one of a number of investors in the company that owned the Kabwe mine”.
“Anglo American was, however, at all times, far from being a majority owner. In the early 1970s, the company that owned the mine was nationalised by the government of Zambia and for more than 20 years thereafter the mine was operated by a state-owned body until its closure in 1994,” the London-based miner said.
“Since the nationalisation more than 40 years ago effectively placed these issues under the control of the Zambian government, we are not in a position to comment further about the matter, but we certainly don’t believe that Anglo American is in any way responsible for the current situation.”
The Human Rights Watch has published a report that puts Kabwe as the most toxic town, having disastrous effects on children’s health.
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The post PF committed to fight against corruption appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> The Patriotic Front says it has put in place a number of mechanisms that have seen an enhanced fight against corruption in the country.
Speaking during Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk programme yesterday, PF media director Sunday Chanda said the creation of the Financial Intelligence Centre was a very clear example of the PF’s commitment to the fight against corruption.
“Certain mechanisms, certain interventions by this government, by this President made it very, very possible for these (corruption) revelations to come out. It is not like some of these things were not happening in the past, they were happening. What happened is that there were no legal frameworks, no mechanisms to bring out these issues to the fore. There are people who would want to praise and clap for the Financial Intelligence Center for instance but what they forget is that the Financial Intelligence Center is a creation of the PF government,” Chanda said.
He said credit must be given where it was due.
“All these things are playing a very important role in ensuring that acts of corruption, alleged acts of misconduct, suspicious transactions and suspicious actions and decisions are brought to the fore. We must be able to give credit where it is due,” Chanda said.
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The post Tiza Mukuka: Ban HH from running in 2021 appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> Leader and founder of the Youth Alliance Zambia Tiza Mukuka says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema should be barred from running in the 2021 general elections for failing to win office in five previous attempts.
Accourding to Mukuka losing an election five times is a clear indication that the majority of Zambians have rejected him.
He says Hichilema should first try running for political office as a councilor or ward chairman or even as a Member of Parliament.
Mukuka has expressed interest to stand as a member of Parliament in Munali or Lusaka Central Constituencies in the 2021 general elections.
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The post UPND’s Underhanded Tactics Exposed By Media appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> The UPND’s old, ineffective tactics are a waste of time and Hakainde Hichilema should instead turn his attention to building up the UPND instead of launching baseless attacks at President Lungu and his family, said Edward Mumbi.
Mr Mumbi’s statement was in response to a recently uncovered ploy by the UPND to link ’s daughter, Tasila, to the controversial 48 houses in Chalala which are under probe has failed as Standard Chartered Bank has dismissed assertions that the person who sold the property to her is its employee.
On Wednesday, UPND sponsored Zambian Watchdog claimed that a Mr. Malcolm Chabala, allegedly working for Standard Chartered Bank in Lusaka, was the registered property owner of the 48 houses on property LUS/56561.
The online publication further claimed that during the investigations by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Mr. Chabala allegedly told the commission that the actual owner was President Edgar Lungu’s daughter, Tasila. It also claimed that Mr. Chabala gave the ACC copies of the agreement he had with Ms. Lungu and that the plan was to link the plots to the late Willie Nsanda and auction them to a company registered in the Bahamas whose beneficial owner was Ms. Lungu.
It also claimed that Mr. Chabala sold the plot to Ms. Lungu but that the duo never changed ownership on the details serve for a signed sales agreement. But Standard Chartered Bank company secretary Rose Kavimba yesterday dismissed these assertions saying Mr. Chabala did not work for the company, and described such assertions as petty rumours.
“Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Plc wishes to dispel social media reports circulating that an alleged employee of the bank, a Mr. Malcom Chabala, has been named in a case involving 48 houses under investigation by the ACC.
“As a company, we wish to put it on record that the name mentioned in the story making rounds on social media is an attempt to drag this organisation in petty issues outside its mandate in the financial service sector. “Standard Chartered Bank Zambia Plc has received numerous queries from the press to confirm whether or not the said Mr. Malcom Chabala works for this institution. We wish to advise the media, the public, and all stakeholders to treat this as a rumour with the contempt it deserves,” she said.
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The post Nigeria’s President Buhari Tells Igbos Not to Challenge Unity appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said that the Federal Government was ready to contend with anyone against the peace and unity of Nigeria. President Buhari who stated this when he received the traditional ruler of Umuofor Kingdom, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, Eze Abdulfatah Emetumah III, said, ”Anybody that tries to joke with the unity of this country has a problem as long as we are alive.”
Igwe Achebe Obi of Onitsha and Chief Ayo Adebanjo The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, told members of the delegation led by the monarch, who is also the Chief Imam of Oguta that his main objective of serving as an elected public office holder was to make the country better.
According to him, ”Our single objective is how to make Nigeria better and we will never get tired.” President Buhari, who thanked the delegation for identifying with the progress made so far by this administration in moving the nation forward, assured them that their well thought out recommendations on engendering unity in the country would be considered.
According to William Roberto Ramalho de Miranda, a professor of political science at Sao Paulo University, these sorts of comments from the Nigerian president “present further difficulties in managing the socio-political tensions of Nigeria’s Southeast.
In Buhari’s remarks, Eze Emetumah who is the Offor of Umuofor Kingdom commended the President for demonstrating his love for Nigerians and Nigeria through purposeful leadership in the last three years. He said, ”Your Excellency, from birth you have a mission for Nigeria and you have demonstrated this in your career as a soldier, Minister, Head of State, in PTF and now President.
“You have fought for the unity of this nation and its enemies, we know very well that you won’t tolerate anything that would affect its unity and our collective existence.” The royal father cum cleric, said it was noteworthy that under the present administration, ‘‘dissemblers like Boko Haram and other anarchists have tasted the bitter pills.’
“In agriculture, today locally produced rice has outnumbered the imported, while critical infrastructure especially Federal roads across the nation have improved and are still improving.”
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The post Why Zambia’s Economy Will Prevail and Prosper appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> AT A time when the country had been subjected to all manner of propaganda regarding the country’s debt with China, citizens needed answers from President Edgar Lungu’s address to Parliament yesterday.
The address was so important because it also points to what citizens expect in the budget speech by the minister of Finance.
The President rose to the occasion because his speech covered most of the issues citizens had wanted to hear.
In his speech during the official opening of the third session of the 12th National Assembly yesterday, gave the national insights into what minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe will next month present in the 2019 national budget.
President Lungu hinted yesterday the budget will build on policies as outlined in the economic stabilisation growth programme and the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).
, whose theme was ‘working together to achieve Vision 2030,’ builds on his Government’s commitment to make Zambia a prosperous nation.
The theme is also an affirmation of our abiding belief that Zambia, Africa and the world at large can be better places for all of their citizens if they work towards achieving common goals.
The theme is also in sync with Government’s development agenda through the 7NDP, which is our roadmap to actualising the Vision 2030 of becoming a prosperous middle-income country.
President Lungu said the choice of this year’s theme bears further testimony to our commitment to the for the attainment of the Africa we want.
“The theme also resonates well with the aspirations of the United Nations sustainable development goals, the debt stock and domestic arrears of the country have, in the recent past, been topical. It should, however, be emphasised that the contraction of this debt was necessary to support our ambitious agenda of laying a solid foundation for the future growth of our economy. For our people, this is being appreciated through roads, schools and hospitals being constructed, which are critical to their well-being,” President Lungu said.
He assured the nation that his Government is committed to ensuring a speedy return to low risk of debt distress and maintaining the debt within sustainable levels.
“Our vision as a country is to become a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030. We aspire to build a strong and dynamic industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all our people and embodies values of socio-economic justice,” President Lungu said.
He said Government wants to see a Zambia where every citizen has access to safe clean water, food, decent housing, electricity, quality education and health services and decent jobs by 2030.
However, the most eagerly awaited statement was on China in view of the country’s debt to that country.
Social media has been awash with stories about how China will eventually colonise Zambia if the country fails to honour its debt obligation.
The President was on top of things in his response, which has inevitably calmed most citizens’ concerns.
“In pursuit of this vision, we need to transform into a smart Zambia. As an independent state, Zambia creates and keeps cordial relationships with its friends in the broader international community of nations. These relationships are based on mutual bilateral and multi-lateral considerations informed by common goals of making better the lives of our people. In this regard, our right to choose our friendship with one nation is not dependent on making enemies with others,” President Lungu said.
He reiterated that Zambia shall choose her friends on her own terms and that does not mean appeasing anyone with unjustified enmity with others.
“Our friendship with China is mutual, and no amount of reckless propaganda will deter us from entrenching this relationship for the common good of our people. We are proud of our friendship with China, Europe, America and India. We are proud of our friendships within AU (African Union), SADC (Southern African Development Community), COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), and with other individual countries,” President Lungu said.
He implored countrymen and women to ignore the misleading headlines that seek to malign Zambia’s relationship with China by mischaracterising the economic cooperation to mean colonialism.
“China does not have that record; neither does it seek a horse and rider relationship with Zambia,” he said.
President Lungu stated that Zambia is a fully conscious nation, alive to the fact that she needs to uplift the plight of her people with transparent .
“I want to emphasise that all forms of bilateral cooperation with China are, and will always be, informed by this noble focus on the need to build a supporting infrastructure to enable our people to build sound and sustainable livelihoods,” he said.
When the President had finished delivering his speech, it was clear that he had addressed people’s expectations – China, debt and state of the economy. He also called for togetherness.
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The post Opinion: Zambia’s Debt, Not Just A Product of Chinese Debt Diplomacy appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> Zambia’s public debt has increased significantly in recent years, and concerns over a possible crisis have lately attracted the attention of Western media. On September 3, a by British business intelligence outlet Africa Confidential warned of escalating debt caused by allegedly unsustainable Chinese loans and claimed that Zesco, the state-owned national electricity company, has been in talks about a takeover by a Chinese company.
The Zambian government refuted the allegations and denied the existence of plans for Zesco’s privatisation.
The allegations coincided with increased Western concern over the expansion of Chinese loans to African countries. Two weeks after the UK froze its aid to following an investigation into large-scale corruption in a Social Cash Transfer programme it supported, other donors (Ireland, Finland and Sweden) did the same.
In early August, 16 US senators, led by Trump loyalist David Perdue, a letter to the US Secretaries of Treasury and State, to warn against China’s use of “debt-trap diplomacy” to advance the Belt and Road Initiative and create a world economic order centred around the Asian superpower.
The senators wrote that China pumps large loans for infrastructure projects into countries in Africa, Asia and Europe with the explicit purpose of leveraging the debt to influence national policies and gain control over strategic assets and resources. Their letter expressed concern over the role of the International Monetary Fund () in bailing out countries indebted to China and called for decisive action to stop the Chinese “hegemonic” project.
However, the reality of Zambia’s debt tells a different story: China is not the only major player. As the Economist magazine wrote in September, China probably holds a quarter to a third of Zambia’s external debt. In recent years, Zambia joined several other African countries in borrowing US dollars through large bond sales (known as eurobonds) on international markets controlled by Western institutions.
The government issued three eurobonds between 2012 and 2015 for a total of $3bn – this does not include interest repayments, which keep going up due to sinking investor confidence. The yields on these bonds reached 17 percent last month. The first 10-year eurobond was issued in 2012 with a 5.6 percent yield.
It is also true that Zambia has heavily borrowed from Chinese sources and critics point out that a large number of these loans might be unaccounted for in the government official figures. Either way, the government declared a staggering $9.4bn of external debt in June this year, or 34.7 percent of GDP, up from at the end of 2011, or 8.4 percent of GDP.
But while the figures are worrying, it is irresponsible to pour fuel on the fire. A debt default would open up opportunities for vulture funds and international creditors to take over the country’s rich mineral and land resources and the few remaining parastatals that survived two decades of aggressive privatisation and public spending cuts imposed by the IMF and the World Bank from the 1980s to the mid-2000s.
Health, education and other public services have already been decimated and the mining sector, previously under state control, is now for the most part in foreign hands – as are most sectors of the formal economy. Zambia is the 4th most unequal country in the world, and 74.3 percent of the population on less than $3.20 a day.
It is a tragic irony that China is now being blamed by the West for allegedly doing exactly what the IMF has been doing for decades: providing unsustainable loans to countries in need to further plunge them into debt, weaken state capacity and open up national economies to international investors (primarily from Western countries). While China might be pursuing its own debt traps, they are certainly less experienced than the IMF when it comes to leveraging debt over heavily indebted countries.
The real story here is not that Zambia is – once again – trapped by international creditors. Rather it is that the IMF and its Western allies are scared of losing their grip on Zambia and other African countries, threatened by the parallel economic system that China has built in recent years.
China is understandably hiding details of its loans from IMF oversight and Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu and his entourage are now perceived as an open threat to Western hegemony due to their vocal support for Beijing. At the end of August, after protracted negotiations over a failed bailout, the IMF recalled its envoy from Zambia, Alfredo Baldini, apparently under pressure from government officials unhappy with his conduct.
Lungu’s blatant mismanagement of public finances and his increasingly authoritarian tendencies show that his stance is far from principled and is driven by desperation. But Western criticism of the Zambian president is not well-intentioned either.
The Western media has downplayed the fact that an eventual IMF bailout would come with hefty conditionalities, imposing further spending cuts and privatisations in an already downsized state. There is no evidence that suggests that an IMF programme would be better than a Chinese deal.
It was the IMF and World Bank that hard for the privatisation of the national electricity company in the 1990s and early 2000s. Zesco became a symbol of resistance in a country that was largely sold out to foreign investors and their local brokers in business and politics. The attempts at privatising the parastatal failed.
In 2016, talks of privatisation resurfaced. In an interview with the authors, Ernest Chanda, editor of Zambian independent newspaper The Mast, pointed out that throughout 2016, rumours about Saudi Arabia’s interest in buying Zesco circulated in connection with Lungu’s state visit to the kingdom in May that year, and the announcement that Saudi Arabia offered to provide cheap oil to Zambia.
This year, the signing of a memorandum of understanding on diplomatic and political consultations, and an agreement to export Zambian goats to Saudi Arabia made headlines in local news. The Saudi government is financing several projects in Zambia, including hospitals and roads. Western media have been largely silent about these developments. This is not surprising, given Saudi alignment with the US and UK administrations.
We should be careful however not to replace one form of xenophobia – anti-Chinese sentiment – with another: Much debate about Saudi Arabia is accompanied by Islamophobic undertones. The truth is that fears about Saudi and Chinese presence in Zambia deflect from continued, but threatened, Western hegemony.
In a world of depleted mineral resources, Western countries, especially resource-dependent Europe, need Zambia’s copper, uranium and cobalt – the latter is in high demand recently due to the booming electric vehicle industry. The West is also interested in the landlocked country’s strategic position at the heart of the African continent. Zambia has borders with eight countries and close ties with neighbouring conflict-ridden and resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Hopefully, the current alarmism in the West will not cause the country to default. But if it does, the biggest losers will be the Zambian people. A default could trigger a chain reaction and bring down other African economies that borrowed heavily through eurobonds and are struggling with debt repayments.
What Zambia needs is debt cancellation and a strong state that takes back control of strategic national resources such as mining and agricultural land, as used to be the case at the height of former President Kenneth Kaunda’s socialist rule from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Thanks to his nationalisation policies, Kaunda was able to make significant progress on reverting Zambia’s colonial legacy and redistributing national wealth across society.
With all the neoliberal rhetoric that has dominated Zambian politics in the past three decades, many Zambians look back with nostalgia at those years. However, neither President Lungu nor his main opponent Hichilema is willing or able to deliver wide-ranging redistributive reforms of the kind implemented by Kaunda. Zambians will have to search elsewhere if they hope to revert the trend.
William Roberto Ramalho de Miranda. The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.
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The post Football: Zambia Defeats Guinea-Bissau on Road to Africa Cup of Nations 2019 appeared first on Zambia Daily Nation.]]> Zambia beat Guinea-Bissau 2-1 in Lusaka with Ethiopia and Kenya playing out a 0-0 draw as qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations resumed on Wednesday.
Zambia’s victory over Guinea-Bissau kick-started their hopes of qualifying, bringing Chipolopolo their first victory in Group K.
Stoppila Sunzu put Zambia ahead after 17 minutes with Justin Shonga adding a second, but it was a nervy finish for the hosts who held on despite a late Frederic Mendy goal for Guinea-Bissau.
The results puts Mozambique top of Group K on four points from two games, ahead of both Zambia and Guinea-Bissau on goal difference.
Both teams have played a game more than Mozambique who host bottom side Namibia on Saturday.
Earlier, Ethiopia and visitors Kenya played out a 0-0 draw in Group F of qualifying for next year’s finals.
The Harambee Stars thought they had scored five minutes before half-time but the goal from striker Michael Olunga, who plays in Japan, was ruled out for for a foul.
Kenya’s coach Sebastien Migne said it was a “fair result.”
“We had missed some opportunities in the first half. After the resumption it was a bit difficult for us.
“All in all it is a fair result. The return leg in Kasarani is now like a final tie,” Migne told reporters.
His Ethiopia counterpart, Abraham Mebratu, was happy with the performance of his side.
“I am content with the fighting spirit of my boys. I can see that we have got a good game.
“We deserve to get more than a draw as we dominated our opponents. The second leg is now a make or break situation for us,” Mebratu said.
The neighbours are set to face each other again on Sunday in Nairobi.
Both teams now have four points from their three matches so far.
The other match in this group between Ghana and Sierra Leone has been as Leone Stars are currently banned from global football.
It is still unclear whether the games between the Black Stars and the Leone Stars, who both have three points from two matches, will be played at some point in the future.
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