Saturday, November 22, 2008

(CDP) On Copper

The Citizens Democratic Party
P.O.Box 37277
Lusaka, Zambia.
Tel: 011- 260- 968347292, Email:

The CDP Stand on National Issues

The year’s ending has coincided with the end of high copper prices. Since June 30 of 2008 to date, the price of copper has basically HALVED. And our country once again missed an opportunity to “transfer Zambian wealth to Zambian hands”. There is no doubt that the so called “economic successes” will prove to be hollow, and not as solid as the MMD Administration has claimed. Opportunity presented itself, through the high demand of Zambia’s resources, and yet very few Zambians have benefited from this high. And for those few Zambians who have benefitted, the benefit is brief, and this bubble too will burst.

The single greatest failure of our political leadership in Zambia is the inability, or unwillingness to think years ahead. The MMD Administration, together with the “current opposition” should have used this opportunity to heavily invest in our citizenry, by ensuring widespread and maximum benefit for ALL Zambians. Instead, foreign companies continued to literally siphon money, under the eyes of leaders, tasked to protect Zambia’s resources. Seemingly, our government is comfortable with scoring short term successes, at the expense of the country’s future.

Fact; China, the main beneficiary and buyer of Zambia’s copper, has already started to implement measures to curtail and reduce the “trade” which has gone on during this “high”. The Citizens Democratic Party wonders if the MMD Government and the opposition (through parliament) have got a plan on the table to contain the obvious effects of China reducing its need for copper. Clearly, nothing comprehensive has been made public as to what the Zambian government intends to do in the coming year as close as it is.


Looking forward to what lies ahead particularly for Zambia; The Citizens Democratic Party still sees opportunity, even though there is an economic break down in the financial centers of the global market. An informed and capable leadership will know that whilst it is true that the world economy has slowed, there were serious breaches in the money markets of individual countries, in the manner financial matters were handled by PRIVATE corporations. In any case, the various countries have already started to take extraordinary steps to try and correct this fiasco. Furthermore, economists know that any economy is cyclical. There are ups and downs with any economy and sometimes the “downs” are really adverse” and at other times the “ups” are really good.

For Zambia, now is not the time for leaders to bury their heads in the sand and blame the downturn in the world economy for their failures or inadequacies. The Kwacha has “lost value” in the past weeks, and the world economic downturn, as well as the fall of copper prices is indeed a very convenient condition to blame.

As The Citizens Democratic Party we are saying that this is the time for the MMD government, along with the opposition to for once THINK AHEAD. With the limited finances gained from the copper boom, it is time for the government to be prudent and stretch the financial resources by engaging into ventures which have long term positive effects on our country. The government together with the opposition cannot afford at this time to pass bills in parliament which have little effect on the Zambia’s success. That means that taking on redundant projects such as “building” feeder roads, needs to be replaced with building proper permanent and meaningful infrastructure which will not consume limited resources every year. With the end of the copper high prices, Zambia can only afford to embark on programs which will pay in the future.

Here lies an opportunity, to use the money gained from the copper boom in meaningful sectors which pay dividends in the long term. Education also remains pivotal and the government should place a massive investment into this sector-for education serves the future. Also, The Citizens Economic Empowerment Program should be seriously reviewed and forced to embark on programs that will truly embark on empowering Zambians for the long term. If there is one simple lesson to be learnt from the fall of copper prices is that nothing lasts forever. Now is the time for the MMD government and opposition (through parliament) to be bigger than the problem that affects our country with respect to the mining industry which has served as our life-line for a long time.

Our emphasis is the MMD Government, in hand with the “current opposition” should attempt to THINK AHEAD, WE had a similar situation in 1974 where copper prices shot up, then suddenly went down, without the Zambian government having a fall back plan. CDP learns from the nations’ history and we encourage policy makers and the opposition alike to also learn from our nation’s history to plan ahead.

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