“These [mobile] hospitals will not be funded from the budget. If we were going to be getting funds from the budget in order to introduce mobile hospitals, the argument the opposition are raising will have been valid. But this is a programme a foreign government is prepared to fund and it’s their suggestion..."
President Banda explaining why the Government has embraced the concept of mobile hospitals which would cost the "foreign government" [China?] around US$50m. The President is effectively saying the money is "free" and has also promised that as well as accepting this "free aid" Government will continue its own efforts to build new clinics and hospitals. That should put a lot of minds at rest, but it still begs the question : should the government have persuaded this "foreign government" to simply give us $50m and spend it on something more beneficial? Or was it the case of foreign aid imposed?
What is clear is that the President is convinced that if the money was funded by Zambian tax payers, this would not have been the best choice. So why is it different if it is being bankrolled by Chinese tax payers? We need to be as responsible with money given to us, as we are with money raised by our taxpayers. The fact that it is "free" does not exonerate us from ensuring it is being spent wisely. It is incumbent upon us to convince the Chinese that it can be spent in a better way. If they refuse, then we know their motives are not genuine.