Friday, January 18, 2008

Letters - This year’s budget

This year’s budget
By Gift Hajongola
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]

Since independence, agricultural production has played a vital role in driving the economy of Zambia, but it appears its sustenance, real meaningful advancement and growth both at household and national level is not forthcoming. Using the constituency approach and participatory methodology appears to be the only lasting solution to real agro-industrial development. To support this suggestion, I have developed a document on the practical methodologies and structures of making agriculture a real business which can raise the living standards of the worst poverty-stricken people of the rural population.

It is very unfair that in rural areas, where there is plenty of rich and fertile land, 80 per cent of the people are poor. What really lacks is the structural system which can make these local people productive and drive their own production, processing and marketing.

Time has come when we need to make agriculture production a big business, not just a place of survival. As it is now, the rural people are deemed to be the poorest and socially excluded to serious financial allocation during budgeting and implementation of some projects. It is time to put development into the hands of the indigenous people so that they own the means of production and this starts at the point of budgeting.

There is also a need to reduce funding on service activities and increase fund allocation to production so that the production-based areas would in turn support the service delivery sectors .This is sustainable development. The formula is : the more the productive base is widened, the more the service base is widened as well.

Lack of planning
By Evans C.
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]

It is very sad and disappointing to look at how our country is being managed. It is management crisis every time!

We all knew well in advance that our country was going to experience serious floods this rainy season and yet no measures were put in place by the government to remedy the situation. People are now homeless with more expected to join the picture soon. Mind you, there is still damage to crops and hunger following this situation. When are we ever going to learn? Surely our leaders should wake up and start managing this country properly. Where are all the planners and advisors to the government tasked with managing these affairs?

I think it is very embarrassing for our leaders to start crying out for external assistance now that we have victims of these already predicted floods. It shows incompetence, lack of foresight and is typically African. We have a lot of high lying land and people should have been moved from flood-prone areas well before the rains began. Are we forever going to continue begging for outside help? Are we also going to ask for outsiders to repair our poorly constructed roads that are now collapsing because of the rains? Maybe we should also cry for external help to construct drainage systems in Lusaka.

Shame to all those officers and leaders who failed to plan for this catastrophe! Stop being ‘crying babies’ because you just failed to manage your country!

Cost of living
By Evans C
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]

Many people have talked about high taxes and the need to reduce them in Zambia. I also totally agree, especially when I look at the cost of most commodities in our country.

I don’t understand why beef, chicken and all other goods produced locally should be so expensive. These same commodities cost far less in neighbouring countries.

If our leaders are really serious about improving our welfare, let them work towards reducing the cost of living now. We are already earning very little money and yet this government expects us to survive on things we can’t even afford. People are stealing and engaging in corrupt activities so as to survive.

We are tired of hearing about the so-called economic boom because it means nothing to most of us ordinary people.

Scrap Youth Fund
By Ladislas Hibusu
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]

As the budget presentation approaches, there are many prospects and surprises to different departments and sectors. We will be stunned to the pronouncements of bulky achievements and hardly any failures that are so minute and unsubstantial. Amidst these pronouncements will be changes in the VAT system, there will be reductions and increments in allocation of funds in different sectors.

Certain sectors like local government that are very key to the growth of the nation are neglected, as such experiencing dire drainage systems. I strongly feel that more funds should be scrapped off and be allocated to sectors like local government for waste management and drainage systems. The drainage and sanitation systems in the country are porous right now. Visit Soweto, Misisi, Kanyama, Mtendere, and many other places, it’s a sorry sight. However, I feel it’s not entirely the government to blame for some of these ailments; residents are also partly to blame. Residents can come up with an initiative by making contributions and hire technocrats to amend the state of affairs.

Unless we are availed with an authentic financial report of the foresaid concern and unless some come out to confirm that they benefited, this fund is a non-starter and should not appear in the fourth coming budget or we enrich a few elite.

Perhaps it’s one of the ‘knit-bits’ to the vulture funds. Although this is a subjective view I strongly feel there are a lot more patriotic youths out there who have very realistic and farsighted objectives of expanding their projects, hence creating employment for the underprivileged.

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