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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Policy Bloopers (Various)

Interesting misguided policies that may have escaped your attention in recent weeks. We will try and do this more often, which in effect will try and pick on some of the main policy bloopers flagged up via our Facebook Page (do please "like the Page" to keep up with exciting debates there) :

Agriculture Minister Emmanuel Chenda announced earlier this month that GRZ has exhausted the K300 billion budgetary allocation for the crop marketing exercise. FRA has been authorized to BORROW money for buying maize from farmers. This happens all the time. We are borrowing to subsidise farmers and later export the maize at a loss. It's not good enough. The policy madness has to stop surely. It's totally unsustainable  How long are we going to continue?

Government is planning to establish a Civil Service Bank to enable civil servants access low interest loans, according to Education Minister John Phiri. The rationale seems very poor. There are many ways of getting loans to civil servants without creating a bank! It is also wrong priorities. Why only civil servants? Surely we should be trying to widen credit access to the 70% living on less than $2 a day?

Chief Registra Clement Andeleki says that Government will soon take forward new legislation that will ensure de-registration of political parties that "fail to gain political ground within two years". He thinks this can be done by an amendment of the Societies Act chapter 119 of the Laws of Zambia. He says that most political parties in Zambia are just there to endorse other parties during election time and also gain donor funds. Out of 47 political parties in Zambia he says only about six participated in elections. Andeleki's figures are actually  misguided. More importantly, though the idea of sorting out ghost parties is good in principle it is dangerous to make such an amendment through Societies Act and give a political appointee like Clement Andeleki such powers. It amounts to regulation of political parties - surely such principles ought to be laid out in the Constitution to start with? This issue requires significant public debate. What's the rush? People should reject any political regulation by the back door - even when it comes dressed as an angel of light!


  1. It is all very sad. While there is a continued clamour for investment in agriculture, the reality is that the powerful lobby for hybrid maize seed and nitrogenous fertilisers creates a continual state of crisis and dependency regarding seed and fertiliser availability, maize collection, marketing and credit - the country paying lip service to conservation agriculture, neglecting the use of age-old techniques using non-hybrid seeds, a major factor in the continuing impoverishment of villagers and the bio-diversity. The depletion of renewable and non-renewable resources is the theft of a nation’s capital and will continue to tax future generations. Misguided philanthropists such as the Rockefeller and Gates Foundation - who established the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra), actively assist in the impoverishment of our African socio-ecological fabric, something for which they will not be held accountable. But the Government allows this to continue, despite all the evidence of a perennial disaster. And they borrow money to do it!

    Apropos low interest loans for civil servants, the Government is merely setting up a micro-lending scam. As for the Chief Registrar, he has been told to do this by Sata and Kabimba. Sata must have been re-reading KK's Watershed Speech of June 1975.Cometh the man, cometh the revolution.

  2. The creation of a Civil Service Bank is not necessary given that the Government already has National Savings and Credit Bank through which most of the civil servants get their salaries. I feel recapitalising this institution which inturn can come up with affordable loan products for all government workers would make much more sense than creating a complete new Bank.


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