Business Review by Uncle Mike
COSTLY SOCIAL VENTURES…
It is surprising that certain events that are costly to this nation and totally unnecessary that existed in the first and second republic are still prevalent today. I’m referring to the Practice of welcoming political leaders at international airports. With their (political leaders) numerous trips every year it is indeed an onerous task done at great expense to the nation’s treasury. The ministers and top government officials are supposed to be in their offices attending to the myriad of problems that we face as a nation. To expect them receiving their leaders at airports is not a serious assignment to say the least.
We are also deeply saddened to hear that a former minister and freedom fighter passed away. In my view it is enough to announce his death in the mass media and have flags fly at half mast. But what is not acceptable is to order ordinary citizens cancel events of entertainment nature. It seems it doesn’t occur to the authorities that those whose lives depend on earning an income from the entertainment industry are grossly disadvantaged .I remember during the UNIP days my colleague had to cancel a wedding at enormous cost to him because a one month national mourning was in existence at that time.
Only dictators issue such a ban because they have no respect of the ordinary person in the country. I don’t know of any other country that forces people to mourn …surely the PF government should rescind this uncouth practice.
VICE PRESIDENT COSTLY MEAL…..
This week On Tuesday night I was startled to see police cars with their sirens blurring come to my favourite club in Lusaka.It was a full presidential motorcade. The vice president was coming for dinner. Now was that necessary .An entourage of more than fifteen officers, about five motor vehicles plus three motorbikes all escorting one person to come to a meal.
We all know guy Scott is a humblest person it is more of a question of an overzealous officer arranging fellow officers to collect a higher than usual per diem. Let’s get our priorities right.Zambia is a peaceful country, a two man escort was all that was needed.
MORE POWER PLANTS….
The setting up of a Luapula hydro power at Kundabwika and Kabwelume in north western province by china development and environmental group is welcome news .A total of 178mw will be produced from the planned installation. In addition this will generate employment opportunities for 700 people.
The project is Awaiting approval from water board after no objections were received .We just hope this will be done expeditiously as the country needs all power plants from the private sector. We need to eliminate the shortage in power supply if we have to move forward in economic development. In fact we need to go back to our status as a net exporter of power in the region .Poor planning and lack of investment in the field of power generation saw us lose our exporting status.
LATE DISTRIBUTION OF FARMING INPUTS….
The usual story of late farming input distribution is still dogging us. It is now more than 42years we have had this problem .A solution was found temporary in 1991/2 farming season when a new MMD government affected. Their new policy of disengaging government from farming inputs program. The food reserve agency became a centre for policy formulation only .The fertiliser input distribution was left to the private sector. The exercise was successful and led to a Bumper crop which even forced the MMD government to intervene again by buying of the surplus crop .They had to issue promissory notes. However over the preceding years this solution was abandoned by MMD for political expediency .They start meddling by being involved in input distribution.
So why should the patriotic front go back to the UNIP WAYS of distributing agriculture inputs. Done once and at the beginning of the farming season is a recipe for distribution chaos .The PF government should adopt the MMD manual on agriculture. It is the only policy that works one that works and most countries including South Africa use it.
…THE COST OF BYE ELECTIONS
Due to recent expulsions of MPs from their own parties will lead to three more bye elections being held in Zambia .A heavy cost to our treasury for a country with a myriad of problems .We simply cannot afford these unnecessary costs of holding bye elections when important infrastructure building is inadequate. Roads, health centres, railway, schools etc will be put aside as we pander to the whims of political parties with a penchant to expel their own members of parliament. This action of expulsion disregards the wishes made by the public who voted them into office.
Come to think of it in a democratic party an earring member should not be expelled except in cases of criminal acts. A disagreement of opinions should not result in expulsion. You won’t find this practice in the first world.
The late president Chiluba should be cursed for starting this unfortunate trend of reversing democratic gains by his act of expelling founding members of MMD.
The new constitution should nip this nonsense of holding Bye elections in the bud. The party who expelled a member should foot the election bill or the candidate with the second highest vote will be declared the winner.
…ANOTHER WARNING TO THE BUSINESS SECTOR….
The recent warning issued by the deputy minister of finance Miles Sampa to bakery owners in the country is another sad development in the management of the economy. This warning follows the one issued to millers of maize by our president.
It is no longer debatable unless one is time warped that the only economic module that works is a free market economy, which means no interference from political leaders. The market on its own has the capacity to correct any distortions in the economy. I know it is hard for those who have never seen the Walls of an economic class to understand the concept of non interference.
Harassing businessman is foolhardy. It is a style favoured by dictators notably the UNIP way of conducting business. This style can only lead to doom as evidenced in the first 30 years of this country’s economic history.
Each time Hon Sampa opens his mouth it can only be a warning or he is releasing an alarmist statement with the aim of Degrading the role of businessman in the country.
Leaders should be reminded that it is the business community that has the sole responsibility of generating employment in our country. The role of a responsible government is to provide for an enabling environment for the economy to thrive.
Threats and the introduction of poor fiscal policies by this government are leading to a slowing down of the economy. The Zambian people deserve better.