I thought a quick run down of UPND policies is in order. The UPND by far is the only party so far to put forward detailed proposals in a readable format of what they plan to do. I therefore plan to take a brisk tour of their various policies, starting with their economic policies:
Let me be blunt and say this is very poor and disappointing. Not only are the "economic policies" very vague by they appear no different from what the MMD is already offering. Also a couple of contraditions there. They plan to focus on economic growth as the way out of poverty, but they also want equitable distribution. How are they going to reconcile the two ? Will they tax the foreign companies even more? How does that square up with their goal to encourage FDI? I am particularly disappointed with their position on the mining taxes. No vision there and its unclear how this differs from what the government already does. I shall waste no more time on this one, and will leave it up to the readers to judge for themselves. Tomorrow we will look at their housing policies. Let us hope that their housing policies are far better, though I worry it will have no central economic vision to anchor to!
The party will further develop appropriate taxation of all mining and other extractive industries in order to benefit both Zambians and investors. Re-align the effective tax regime in the mining sector to internationally comparable and relevant levels in particular mineral royalty, corporate tax etc. while paying particular attention to the need for continued commercial viability and sustainability of mine operations. This, together with the targeted economic growth and other revenue measures, would help generate the necessary revenue to finance the intended and responsible investments in various areas including the social sectors of education, health, clean water supply, sanitation, infrastructure, etc.
The United Party for National Development (UPND) team will work tirelessly to realise the dream of a prosperous Zambia anchored on mutual understanding, love and national unity for speedy economic and social development, with a targeted economic growth rate of ten per cent (10%) per year. This will be achieved through running a mixed economy, particularly promoting increased but properly structured private/public local and foreign investments in sectors such as agriculture, mining, construction, energy, tourism, manufacturing, infrastructure, telecommunications, pensions, Insurance, financial and other services many of which have in the past decades been neglected.
Among measures necessary for the achievement of high but sustainable growth, would be maintenance of macro economic stability (lower inflation, lower interest and stable exchange rates). The UPND believes that as a country, we should realise that we cannot share poverty. The only sustainable way of helping the vulnerable and weak members of our society is through strong economic growth supported by effective economic management and social programmes.
We will take positive and clear steps to move Zambia forward into a middle income country, with equitable distribution of wealth among our citizens in all parts of the country so as to achieve overall poverty reduction, within a decade.
The UPND believes that politics is serious business and not a game as some people would like to treat it. The country now than ever before needs visionary leadership and economic management skills for development and social progress, as we are mainly not in a military or legal but rather economic war situation.
The hallmark of our approach would be good planning and prudent management (economic, efficient and effective utilisation of public including donor resources) supported by a vigorous but professional fight against corruption. Economic, business and social projects/programmes will be negotiated/structured within an average period of six (6) months and not thirty-six (36) months or more as is the case currently.