Thursday, May 29, 2014

Support indeco, Chitala advises Zambians
By Allan Mulenga
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:01 CAT

DR Mbita Chitala has urged Zambians to support the re-introduction of the industrial development corporation, saying that all countries have advanced on the basis of revamping parastatals.

Commenting on MMD acting president Michael Kaingu's statement that establishing indeco would take the country backwards, Dr Chitala said the government intervenes in the market to safeguard the public good.

"There are two views in academia; the first view, which is correct, is that when there is a market failure, the state always intervenes and put up a company or project to ensure that public good is implemented. For instance in our case, the problem of the Railway Systems of Zambia, it required the government coming in and intervening and providing a public good on which all other sectors of the economy will enjoy," he said.

"The Railway Systems of Zambia was completely collapsing but now it has been revitalised. So, in the area of industry and commerce, I think we should learn from what has happened in other countries such as South Korea, which has advanced on the basis of parastatals."

Dr Chitala urged the government to manage indeco professionally.

"From the point of theory, there is nothing wrong in the government getting involved in the management of parastatals whenever there is a market failure. The challenge on the state establishing indeco is the challenge that all countries have, that there must be professionalism for the sake of national development," he said.

"The state should only come in where there is market failure; where the market cannot efficiently and equitably operate. The same way I have said about Zambia Railways, where there is so much money required to revamp it and it is only the state that can do that."

Dr Chitala, however, said Zambians were afraid that the establishment of indeco would breed nepotism, and bad governance, as was the case in most parastatals during the days of the one-party state, may be coming back.

On Kaingu's assertions that Dr Kenneth Kaunda was influencing President Michael Sata to make certain policies, Dr Chitala said there was no need to discard all policies UNIP formulated.

"The bottom of this matter is that what UNIP did was not all bad. Certain policies of UNIP were good, of which our politicians must be magnanimous enough and learn from. They may have managed the parastatals badly, but there was professionalism in the manner they were handled," said Dr Chitala.

On Friday, Kaingu, at a press briefing, urged Zambians to reject the re-inrtoduction of indeco, saying it would take the country backwards.

"We are wondering, what is this government trying to do? What ideologies is this government following? Is it socialism? Is it capitalism? Does it want to prioritise the mines again? Does it want to enter the private sector and get shares? Does it want to nationalise again? These are the questions that everybody is asking. What is this indeco about? Tomorrow it will be Zimco, then Mindeco," said Kaingu.

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