Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Zambia's opposition insincere - Scott
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Mon 06 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Guy Scott says Zambia's opposition is insincere and is trying to create trouble for the government.

And Vice-President Scott says Zambia is seeking to create opportunities for young Zambians to access affordable mortgages in a bold move designed to reduce the housing deficit in the country.

Vice-President Scott, during a special interview with Joseph Onyango on BBC Focus on Africa, dismissed as noisy, the Zambian opposition who had a habit to rush to the international community, seeking sanctions against the people of Zambia.

[They're following the MDC's playbook. - MrK]

"The opposition are insincere…they are trying to create trouble for the government. They have lost support and now want to create a false impression in the eyes of the international community," he said.

Vice-President Scott said the question of the trial of former president Rupiah Banda was before competent courts of law that would decide the outcome following Parliament's decision to lift his immunity from prosecution.

Vice-President Scott said there were no violations in Zambia warranting international intervention because the country was a functional democracy, where the rule of law, respect for property rights and a free political space were guaranteed in the Constitution.

He also said that unemployment was one of Zambia's most immediate challenges, which the government was working hard to address.

"We are working hard to diversify the economy and we are doing this very fast. We are creating jobs but there is a huge gap we have to fill because only half a million people were in formal employment at the time we came to power," he said.

Vice-President Scott said the government had put in place changes that sought to create more incentives for investors creating employment rather those simply seeking to extract the country's resources without due regard to sustainable development.

And delivering a keynote address at the Oxford University-Africa Society "Pan-African Conference 2013" themed 'Towards a 21st Century African Renaissance', Vice-President Scott said the lack of access to affordable loans for decent homes had led to many young people entering the labour market to live in sub-standard accommodation for which they were perpetually paying rent.

He said the high interest rates banks charged on home loans hindered people's access to affordable housing.

"The interest rates charged on homes here (Britain) are almost negligible and therefore people are able to get home loans even before they complete their postgraduate studies," Vice-President Scott said according to a statement by press secretary at Zambia's High Commission in London Amos Chanda.

According to the statement, the government is targeting to bring mortgage interest rates to an average of five per cent in order to make as many young Zambians as possible afford homes when they graduate from school.

"You need to borrow at affordable rates in order to buy a house."
It stated that at national level, Zambia had restructured some loans it inherited from the previous administration to longer-term arrangements and invested them in infrastructure development.

Vice-President Scott also assured investors that Zambia's political stability provided the necessary confidence businesses looked for when investing in any country.

Vice-President Scott, a graduate of the prestigious Cambridge University lectured at Oxford University before he returned to Zambia.
His wife Charlotte, a graduate of Oxford, participated as a panelist during a session on infrastructure, urbanisation and economic growth.

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