Is US$6,000 (over K30, 000) per month per person on accommodation in Zambian missions abroad justified?

Zambian Embassy
Zambian Embassy

VICE -President Guy Scott has challenged Zambians serving in missions abroad to justify the huge sums of tax-payers’ money being spent to sustain their operations.
Dr Scott said staff at missions abroad should desist from being on “luxury holiday” but strive to fulfil their mandate by performing to Government’s expectations.
The Vice-President said this here on Wednesday when he visited the Zambian mission.
He was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wylbur Simuusa and his senior private secretary Robert Kamalata.
Dr Scott said the country should get a return on the investment in the various missions abroad.
“K30,000 per month for each member of staff on accommodation, that’s quite a lot. We need to work hard and perform to the expectations of Government and the people of Zambia,” Dr Scott said.
He also emphasised the need to open up more trade opportunities between Zambia and Angola.
Dr Scott said there are various trade opportunities in Angola due to the economic activities taking place in that country.
He said Zambians can greatly benefit once the rail, pipeline, roads and canals are constructed to link the two countries.
“Angola can be a very good market for us, already we see Mongu harbour loading up ‘Katundu’ [luggage] in those banana boats to take into Angola, so I think it is a promising situation,” Dr Scott said.
Zambia’s Ambassador to Angola Barbara Chilangwa expressed concern about the high cost of accommodation in that country.
Ms Chilangwa said the Zambian mission in Angola has 10 members of staff and Government is currently spending an average of US$6,000 (over K30, 000) monthly on accommodation for each member of staff.
She also said the premises at which the mission is housed belongs to the Angolan Government but that rentals are also paid to two other individuals.
“This building belongs to Government [Angolan] but two of the offices belong to individuals and how that came about is a little bit difficult to explain but that is the position. So we write three cheques, one to Government and two to the other individuals,” Ms Chilangwa said.
She appealed to Government to consider buying houses for staff at the mission instead of renting houses to reduce costs.
And Mr Simuusa said Angola is key to Zambia’s development agenda because it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
“Our mission here should be proactive and inform us what is causing this massive development as they are overtaking us and yet we are neighbours,” Mr Simuusa said.
He said there is need to develop the aspect of economic diplomacy as addressed by President Sata during the last session of Parliament.
“Those days, international relations was for peace but this time, it is focused on the economic agenda. It is those who effectively use their relations that are able to succeed and become wealthy nations,” Mr Simuusa said.

SOURCE Daily Mail