God gave Lungu an opportunity but he’s messed up – Kambwili-Access Full Details Below
GOD gave President Lungu an opportunity but he has messed up, says Chishimba Kambwili.
Featuring on Joy FM on yesterday, Kambwili said it would be wrong for anybody and those in the government to claim that the economy was doing well.
The former information minister described the current state of the economy as terrible because President Lungu was arrogant and did not listen to advice.
“First and foremost, we are supposed to grow the economy at the rate of six to eight per cent per year. The estimated economic growth rate at the time of the budget speech in September last year was that we were going to grow at eight per cent but recently after the appointment of the new finance minister [Dr Bwalya Ng’andu] he said the economy will grow at about 2.5 to 2.8 per cent,” Kambwili said.
“The problem is that people don’t want to tell the truth. When they are being told that things are wrong, that things are not being done correctly, they still insist that things are alright. This year’s budget was about K89 billion and out of K89 billion; K23 billion was earmarked for debt repayment, foreign debt repayment. And we required to borrow K28 billion to add on to the local generated resources in order to for us to actualise the K89 billion budget. You can see from the simple analysis that the entire K28 billion that we needed to borrow in order to add on to the local resources to actualise the budget, out of the K28 billion, K23 billion was going to pay debt, meaning we merely borrowed to pay debt.”
He said the debt had accumulated to very worrying levels.
Kambwili said the correct figure, of external debt, stood at $18 billion as opposed to what the government is claiming.
“Government is telling us that external debt stands about $10 billion but in actual fact the debt is in excess of $18 billion. This lack of telling the truth, giving a wrong picture of the debt is what is causing a lot of distortion in the economy. For instance, if the debt was estimated be to be at $10 billion and then just two days ago on the day of closing of Parliament the Minister of Finance went to Parliament to ask for a K9.8 billion extra money for the budget and out of this K9.8 billion, K6.4 billion was for external debt repayment, you can see that when they were planning, budgeting, they knew the actual debt repayment that we needed but because they want to hoodwink the people of Zambia they provided K23 billion,” he said. “They are asking for K6.4 billion which will bring the debt to about K30 billion. We’re losing it because we do not want to tell the truth, too many short cuts.”
Kambwili said one could only work on their weaknesses and mistakes when they admit that they were wrong and that things were bad contrary to what the PF government was doing.
He accused President Lungu of arrogance and that he did not want to heed to advise.
Kambwili said President Lungu was surrounded by dealers masquerading as businessmen.
“He who knows that he knows not and knows not that he knows not, is a fool for five minutes but he who does not know that he knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool forever,” he said. “You can only work on your weakness and mistakes if you first accept and identify that they are mistakes but when you want to hide the truth and pretend that all is well, certainly you will not have the ability to sort out problems. So the biggest problem that we have today is the ability to show the country the non-existent position and hide the actual things that are existing. Even the people that would want to help you and otherwise would not help you in accordance with the problems that you have because you are not telling the truth.”
Kambwili said the PF government was taxing Zambians to death because they have over borrowed.
He said there were too many unnecessary taxes therefore making the average wage of a Zambian weak.
Kambwili said without a manufacturing industry and vibrant agriculture sector coupled with high unemployment levels, Zambia was a dead nation.
“When people are advised in this country, more so our brother President Edgar Lungu, he does not want to get advice. He wants to be arrogant on the state of the nation and on the way things must be done in Zambia,” he said. “Nobody has the monopoly of wisdom. Governance is about sharing ideas and sharing ideas does not limit you to only those that surround you or you are with in Cabinet. More often that not people who are close to us want to tell us what we want to hear but people that really mean well when they advise you are those that are on the fence seeing what is happening.”
Kambwili recalled having advised President Lungu against appointing Margaret Mwanakatwe as finance minister.
He said the Head of State did not listen.
Kambwili said as much as Mwanakatwe was qualified in the area of finance, political matters were different.
“God gave him an opportunity but he has messed it up just like God gave an opportunity to Saul to be King of the Israelites and he messed up and God anointed David,” said Kambwili. “Life is dynamic, it’s both biblical and human. God will give you an opportunity but if you start thinking that you are clever than God, He will remove the favour and anoint somebody else and this is exactly what has happened to President Lungu.”
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