Sunday, September 06, 2015

Edith Nawakwi On The Kwacha, Minister Chikwanda And The PF

COMMENT - The problem is deeper than incompetence or a failure to listen. It goes right to the corruption that flows from the World Bank and IMF system like a tsunami. The former Finance Minister Caleb Fundanga's MEMFI institute now works with the World Bank, IMF, Bank of International Settlements, and the National Treasury of South Africa. He is presently located in Zimbabwe, a country he disparaged for it's economic policies.

See: (LUSAKATIMES) Fundanga opposed to suggestions to adopt the US dollar as national currency
September 4, 2015

The simple fact is this: as long as the mines are in private hands, the politicians will be bought off by the De Beers/IMF/World Bank cartel.

(THE POST ZM) Government officials now have kwacha diarrhoea - Nawakwi
By Mukosha Funga |
Updated: 06 Sep,2015 ,07:00:18

GOVERNMENT officials now have diarrhoea over the fast depreciating kwacha because of failure to heed to advice early on, says FDD leader Edith Nawakwi. And Nawakwi has charged that Zambia has a sleeping government. Meanwhile, Nawakwi has warned that Zambians will sit on the runway to prevent President Edgar Lungu from landing if he misuses public funds for party functions while in New York.

Nawakwi has over the last four years been calling for the dismissal of finance minister Alexander Chikwanda, saying he is ‘incompetent’. On March 18, Nawakwi attributed the continued depreciation of the kwacha to lack of economic understanding by President Lungu and his ministers and warned that the local currency would one day reach K15 to a dollar.

But government officials dismissed her statement as mere politicking.

However, six months on, the kwacha has breached the K10 psychological barrier,
trading at an average rate of K9.90 and K10.05 for buying and selling on Friday.

In an interview yesterday, Nawakwi said the kwacha has depreciated rapidly because of the government’s failure to listen to advice.

“When I said the dollar will reach K15, they were telling me that I was sick. Now I want to know who has diarrhea. Is it me or them? They were saying ‘Nawakwi is sick, she is politicking’; now let them talk. Instead of discussing the problem, they are playing golf. We told them [that] this Minister of Finance is going to take this country to the knife edge bridge. I haven’t even closed my mouth, where is the Minister of Finance? Where is he hiding?” she asked.

“They have been accusing me of politicking, so now I will start politicking. When I am advising them professionally, they don’t want to listen, someone is snoring and sleeping. Mwebantu ba mu Zambia, twapapata fumeni mubebe aba bantu ati beme bambe ukwenda! (You people of Zambia, I plead with you to come out and tell these people to stand up and start walking).”

Nawakwi said it as said that Zambia had a sleeping government.

“The kwacha has gone over K10 and the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance are sleeping. When a currency has slid this much, normally, speculators tend to go in and purchase the kwacha by bringing in dollars, praying that in the next one week, it can change and they can make profits. This is the best time that anyone who has dollars would have wanted to bring the dollars into the banking system. Those who have dollars in the mattresses, in the market, this is the best time because they can see that from one dollar, they will get more than K10 because we have a sleeping government,” she said.

“They are just snoring and not thinking about what is going on. They are still maintaining this archaic law which we put up in the 1980s which said that because there was a shortage of dollars - in fact this was a Katele (Kalumba) law - that there should be a restriction on how much dollars you can take out and how much dollars you can deposit. That was the reason for that. There was a shortage of dollars, there was no money, now this man has gone and borrowed Eurobonds which we can’t even see. Can they stop sleeping and take out the blankets from their heads and start to think! Stop playing golf! This is not time for golfing, sleeping and fundraising. This is the time for serious economic reflection.”

Nawakwi said not even diverting the US$120 million of borrowed money into the market could save the kwacha.

“I am asking [Bank of Zambia Governor] Dr Denny Kalyalya to lift this administrative hindrance where there is a restriction on deposit of dollars because that’s the only way we can mop up the dollars which are in mattresses and help the kwacha. It is not just by him releasing the few [dollars] which the minister borrowed a couple of months ago,” she said.

“I want them to answer me. I want those people who were saying ‘Nawakwi shut up’ to start talking now. I am urging them to open their mouths now. Talk baba, talk! Talk time yaoneka, talk! What is happening to the kwacha? We told them, even if it is a global phenomenon, it can be mitigated if you don’t have a deficit, the one that they have. This phenomenon of the sliding kwacha is being accelerated by the excessive expenditure, over borrowing and lack of alternative sources of income.”

Nawakwi said the argument that what was happening to the kwacha was a global phenomenon could not hold as the depreciation of other currencies was not as bad.

“Don’t tell me that because my neighbour is walking naked, I should also walk naked. That is wrong thinking! Because Tanzania has the same problem but they are not as hard hit as we are in this country. I wish I could be given a chance to talk to this Cabinet because it appears that the whole Cabinet is asleep,” she charged.

Nawakwi said the current massive load-shedding was worsening the economic situation.

“These people shock me; they are telling us we had a drought, isn’t this the same government which was telling us that we could not take ballot papers because of the heavy rains and the results could not come on time? They had to airlift the ballot boxes. Even the Minister of Agriculture said we have a bumper harvest because we had good rains. Now all of a sudden, in six months, they want to tell us there was a drought?” she wondered.

“How can you tell me, a Zambian who comes from Luapula, that we have a drought in this country? Does Egypt have dams? Does it have rainfall? In Egypt, does the Nile have waterfalls like we have here? The Nile is shared by so many states, fighting for the little water. Have you ever seen in Egypt where they cannot pick ballot boxes because there is too much rainfall? The answer is a simple no. They have a desert, one river and they have more power than this country where we have too much water.”

Nawakwi said the country lacked leaders with functioning brains.

“Ukutuka Lesa tuleke. Lesa alitulambula, alitupela fyonse efyo tufwayika. Efyo ta twakwata fye ni abantu abakwete ama tompwe ayaleshinguluka bwino muma office abo twapele inchito ati bane twafwilisheni. Pantu apa nafishupa. Ifilechitika lelo, Kwacha epo yafika, ninshi malilo, elo wingalaya namukutamfya aka bola wemukulu ne chinkonto, takwaba iyo (We should stop insulting God. God has blessed us with everything we need. What we lack are people with functioning brains in public offices who we have empowered to govern on our behalf. Because things are dire, what is happening today, how the kwacha has depreciated, amounts to a funeral. Is this the time a grown man should go and have the pleasure of playing golf, it is unacceptable),” she said.

Nawakwi also wondered why President Lungu could spend so much public money on campaigns but fail to pay the debt owed to the University of Zambia.

“There are 105 districts in this country; I am shocked that when we have no medicine, we have no books, the university can’t be paid but the President can buy 150 Land Cruisers purportedly for DCs when in fact, he is positioning district commissioners to be shadow MPs. He is sending them to start campaigning on public expenditure. You know, this kind of looting, I don’t understand it. This problem at the University of Zambia, we owe University of Zambia as a country K320 million. Now in dollar terms today, it is just $32 million. I am ordering minister Chikwanda to release $32 million dollars at the current rate of K10 to a dollar because that will resolve the problem at UNZA. That money doesn’t even have value to those who are owed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nawakwi warned that Zambians would sit on the runway to prevent President Lungu from landing if he misuses public funds for party functions while in New York, where he will attend the UN General Assembly.

“We are seeing adverts that there will be a ‘Meet the President’ dinner in New York. Is it a PF trip? Or is it a government of the Republic of Zambia trip? How is he going to get to New York? Is he using an ox-cart or what? If it is a PF trip, I don’t want the policemen from Zambia to go with him. I don’t want the security team to go with him. Let him use PF security and use a chartered plane paid for by Patriotic Front. Honestly, if he goes on government expense, tell him he will have consequences which will be too dire to even contemplate,” she said.

“There will be no runway to land here. We are going to sit on the runway, he has to find his own runway. They should say that this is a private trip which he is paying for from his pocket since he has so much money now. But if he is going to New York just for fundraising for his political party, I don’t think I am going to accept it.”

Nawakwi said Zambians were the PF’s opposition in the 2016 elections.

“Anyway, he (President Lungu) has made our work very easy because in this country, this government of Patriotic Front doesn’t even need opposition. The people themselves are the opposition. They are feeling the heat, the people are angry; just walk into any shop, the problem is that this President can’t even go where we go. I am just walking downtown here in Cairo Road and he can come to Cairo Road and listen...he doesn’t even want to go on Cairo Road because he has created the dirtiest city in Southern Africa, but he is breathing fresh air there [at State House], playing golf,” said Nawakwi.
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