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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Readers Weekly: How has PF performed in the last six months?

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.
Ruth Henson:
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:
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.
Sue Clayton:
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.
Lydia Mtchotsa:
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. 

5 comments:

  1. Magande questions Chikwanda's windfall tax

    Fri 23 Mar. 2012
    The post

    IT is ironic for finance minister Alexander Chikwanda to call his colleagues in the patriotic Front lunatics for advocating the reintroduction of 25 per cent windfall tax on base metals, says Ng'andu Magande.

    And Magande, the longest serving finance minister in the MMD government, has challenged the PF government to give a proper policy direction for the country.

    In an interview, Magande, who is National Movement for Progress president, said it is surprising that Chikwanda could label windfall tax advocates ‘lunatics' when the PF was propped into power by promises of reintroducing that tax.

    "It would be interesting to get a quotation of what President Sata said in Mongu or what he said in Livingstone or Kalulushi and say while the Minister of Finance is saying the people advocating for windfall tax are lunatics, his own party when they had a big mass rally at Mandevu. This is what either Mr Vice-President Scott said or what Mr Shamenda said or what Mr Kambwili said," he said.

    "Mr Chikwanda never addressed a single mass rally so is he calling his friends that were saying ‘we should reintroduce windfall tax' lunatics?"

    Magande said some PF officials continued to advocate windfall taxes even after the party won last year's elections.

    "The former Minister of Mines Hon Simuusa has been going around and has been telling the people, even in Parliament, they issued a statement that they are going to reintroduce a windfall tax, so is he Chikwanda calling his own colleagues in PF lunatics?" Magande questioned.

    "I am the one who introduced windfall tax in 2008 and I am sure everyone knew my position on this issue."

    He said it was ironic for Chikwanda to start calling names people advocating windfall tax when his party pressured late president Levy Mwanawasa to introduce the windfall tax.

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  2. The problem with hiring a Zambian accountant is not a matter of skill, it's a matter of trust. If a Zambian accountant steals from you, you can fire her, but she will never be put in jail. It's too easy to bribe a judge.

    If a foreigner steals then they can't run and hide in the village. At a minimum, they will be forced to flee the country.

    Also Zambia is two generations away from being a hunter gatherer society. Property rights are not a core part of the culture. It sounds rude, but in Zambia you can't bring a purse into the store and they have people all over trying to catch thieves. In America, they have self checkout lanes so you act as your own cashier. It's a cultural difference.

    That probably sounds racist... But I don't view it like that. Ghana and Rwanda have are examples of African countries where theft is frowned on and punished. Zambia is not.

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  3. The problem is that the PF cannot get away from the fact that a $6 billion or more a year industry is barely being taxed.

    They cannot turn around and say - we have to start broadening the tax base by going after the little people, because they won't fight back, and start taxing the informal sector.

    If they actually believe in the free market, there is no excuse for not collecting all the dividends that are due to ZCCM-IH.

    However most of all, they cannot pretend that we cannot tax the mines, just because they are in office, and start telling these supply side economic lies, 'we need jobs, not taxes', 'we can't kill the cow that gives the milk', and similar infuriating garbage.

    Alexander Chikwanda apparently also doesn't understand how the windfall tax works, or maybe he is just another corrupt jerk who thinks he can lie while we are being robbed.

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  4. he idea, that minister Alexander Chikwanda can just blow off the main item that would make any PF policies work by giving them the finances to do it without putting the country into more debt - devaluing people's Kwacha based savings and salaries, and leveraging future transfers of mineral wealth in debt for mines swaps like HIPC in the process - is criminal. To not do this, and instead defend and rely on the deceivingly named 'Donor Aid', is criminal.

    The government is supposed to collect taxes for it's operations. They are not there to shield a now foreign owned sector of the economy from paying taxes. In fact, the mines should not even be foreign owned - those are the Zambian people's minerals, they don't belong to First Quantum, and they are not there for the President or Finance Minister to give away.

    So before anyone talks about stealing, start addressing the $6 billion a year theft of the Zambian people's resources.

    When is Zambia going to see a party that will tax the mines and develop the country, not simply finance future theft of the people's resources by building more mines.

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  5. talk about the interest rate which was an exaggerated 36% before the PF GOVT came into power but now amazingly it has reduced to 11%... it has also set up a policy reference rate which is 9%. such a development is good because it encourages local entrepreneurs to borrow money and access loans at payable rate. one important thing everyone has to remember is that development is a gradual process!

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