The PF led government of President Michael Sata has now clocked 6 months in office. It is usually the case the first few months in government sets the tone for years to come.
This week we asked our readers how well PF has performed so far and what the expectations are for the next six months. The following is a selected sample of “properly identified" responses.
Emmanuel Mutoya :
They are scoring success in some areas but missing the important issues especially the strength of the kwacha against major currencies that is affecting imports because they are now expensive though exporters are celebrating. This will in the end give a picture that Zambia has a trade surplus in the balance of trade account statistically for the people at Central Statistics Office I just hope they won’t be boasting about it because it’s hurting the economy a lot. For the student who wants to pay for his ACCA, CIMA, CFA or any other exam quoted in foreign currency, not to mention a lot of goods not available or produced by the small manufacturing sector we currently have.
Chansa Chisha :
What’s changed? We still have no jobs because the government allows companies to give jobs to foreigners when Zambians are qualified for these jobs. Companies employing accountants from India when we have world class accountants in the country.
To break things is quick and easy. To build is slow and requires patience. I am happy that there has been consultation with farmers over the future of FISP. I would like to see a lot more policy direction but again it is better to be done slowly and with consultation than in a hurry without. The devaluation of the kwacha is beneficial to producers and exporters who employ thousands more than importers. Ultimately if the kwacha continues to devalue we may regain some of the jobs that were destroyed by its appreciation when copper went up. Manufacturing may even become viable. If the PF keeps listening (preferably before decisions rather than after) there is hope for things to improve.
Phelile Banda Jere :
There are so many things that have been thrown to us but with little or no follow through, update or feedback. Rebasing of the currency they said would be done six months from announcement and I have not heard any sensitising on that. What's the status on the windfall tax? Why is the currency shaky? Why should we have a possible fuel shortage? When are the reports being released from all the Commissions of inquiry? Why are cadres taking up positions in the civil service when PF swore it wouldn't do that? They have to understand that we expect a whole lot more from them because they raised the bar in their campaign promises.
Gabriel Hamiyanda Mpundu:
Sue Clayton:I remain unaware of any changes that make sense to the electorate. The Kwacha has continued to lose value. Government is still dragging its feet to offer civil servants increments and has created rood for grapevine and speculation on this issue. We hear 100% later we hear 4%. So who is right? In short these 6 months has not yielded much. User fees abolishment was a shamble, now we don’t even drugs in hospitals. Health care needs to be handled well.
There is a dearth of policy on anything. We desperately need coherent and articulated policies on everything from mining taxes to substance abuse - the PF manifesto is merely a skeleton, we need some meat. Second, we need to hear about education because that is the foundation without which we shall not move forward at the pace and in the manner we can and must - starting with primary education and teachers training. Third, we need to see a clear distinction between the presidency & its administration and the PF party.
I think that there was a lot of hope raised over the changes to be caused by the PF government in a short space of time without realistically concentrating on the micro and macroeconomic issues that were in place and are now hindering such progress. It seems we do not have policies that inform us much about forecasted effects of the actions government takes today. If the Pf focuses on the power of knowledge, information and critical thinking, all of this is obtained from the minds of the Zambian people who are more on the listening end here rather than the participating end. The PF promised a people government but they haven’t really lived up to it. It should focus on policy, strong economic and social policy rather than GIGO. It’s the same thing we get every year.