Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Removal of subsidies is a necessary evil - Panji
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Tue 04 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

COLONEL Panji Kaunda says the removal of the fuel and maize subsidies was a necessary evil. Featuring on Breeze FM Political Hour programme on Saturday, Col Panji who is communications deputy minister said the government could not continue subsidising consumption. He said the government wanted to do something that was good for the Zambian people and not a few individuals.

"To be a leader, it's not about being popular. To be a leader is to do things that are very unpopular but in a long run you are proven right.

We cannot stop doing things for the sake of being voted out of office, that's poor leadership," Col Panji said.

He said the vulnerable were happy with the removal of the subsidies.
"I was in Chadiza and Vubwi in the last few days; people are prodding the decision (to remove the subsidies). People are happy with what the government has done and those are the majority of people that we must look at. I am sorry we can't apologise but we do what is right for this country. We want to make sure that this country has good roads," Col Panji said.

He said the government did not want to pacify everybody in order to please a few people.

"Those of us who say people of Vubwi are not happy, people of Vubwi don't buy maize, why should they subsidise your maize? People of Vubwi don't have vehicles, why should they subsidise your fuel? Let those that want to use a vehicle pay for the fuel, those that want to buy mealie meal from Modern Bazaar pay for the price, simple as that! Don't pay, don't eat! We don't want to pacify everybody in order to please a few.

We want the majority of Zambians in Chama, Shangombo to have their livelihood improved," Col Panji said.

He said although fuel and maize subsidies had been removed, other subsidies were still there.

"Other subsidies are there, even our colleagues who are on ARVs are subsidised, that's a good subsidy to save life. Our colleagues in the rural areas don't buy the medicine; they get free of charge, that's a subsidy. What we are saying as government is that we don't want to subsidise consumption," Col Panji said.

He said it was not true that the monies that were meant for subsidies would go towards the by-elections.

One of the callers only identified as Mr Banda from Msekera said the PF government could save money by reducing ministers' salaries instead of what it had done.

"The father of that man (Col Panji) laid a good foundation, Chiluba came, he taught the people how to steal in government, Mwanawasa was good, things changed during his time and Rupiah Banda came, he destroyed everything then this Sata came with the promise, he has done completely nothing. They have to pull their socks because people of Zambia are seeing what they are doing," he said.

Banda called on Col Panji to advise President Sata because people were not happy over the subsidies' removal.

Another caller, Alfred from Chipata, said people had misunderstood the whole concept of subsidies because it had come with other things.
Alfred said the 90 days that the PF preached about during the campaign had started happening and that it would take time for the local people to understand.

He said Zambians could not judge the PF based on the subsidies.
Most callers who called in on the programme expressed mixed feelings over the removal of the subsidies.

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