Wednesday, September 02, 2009

‘Govt lacks political will on private sector development’

‘Govt lacks political will on private sector development’
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Thursday, September 03, 2009 12:28:40 AM

CIVIL Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) executive director Patrick Mucheleka yesterday accused the government of not showing political will through passing of ‘piecemeal legislation’ towards the implementation of the private sector development (PSD) reform programmes.

But agriculture minister Brian Chituwo said Mcheleka’s assertions were out of context and said the government is committed to the reforms that will result in the private sector spearheading economic development.

After the official launch of the phase two of the PSD reform programme in Lusaka, Mucheleka told the ministers and officials present at the event that there was no political will because the government was talking about reforms but at the same time formulating laws that would slow down the flow of investments.

“For investors to come or even local ones, for them to invest, firstly they have to read the political landscape. For instance, which investor can be willing to invest in the media industry looking at the proposed state regulation, yes PSD reforms are good but there is no political will and they are bound to fail,” said Mucheleka. “Because you cannot reform on one hand and on the other you want to suppress institutions (civil society and media) that play a major component in the reform process. In fact, for people to invest they rely on divergent views in society but this will not be possible with what is currently obtaining on the ground.”

In response, Dr Chituwo said political will had always been there and that the government had shown commitment as results were visible in many sectors.

“These assertions are made out of context because since we started private sector reforms, there has been a reduction in the cost of doing business. Even the media industry is thriving and making profits and creating jobs because of these same reforms being implemented by government,” said Dr Chituwo.

And PSD co-chairperson Evans Chibiliti said there was need to deepen dialogue and turn it into practical matters.

“Notable failures are due to lack of implementation and we need to put in practice what we talk about,” said Chibiliti.

The phase two of the PSD reforms was jointly launched by commerce minister Felix Mutati and lands minister Peter Daka.

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