MINISTER of Commerce Trade and Industry, Robert Sichinga has castigated Zambia Institute of Directors (IOD) for not defending various national issues.
Mr Sichinga has since challenged the Directors to come out boldly and offer advice to the government using their skills and knowledge in different areas of expertise.
He was speaking when he officiated at an event dubbed the Membership Night hosted by the IOD at Lusaka’s Grand Palace Hotel on Friday evening.
“What concerns me and certainly concerns the government is that no minister can be in every institution to monitor what is taking place. That solely must fall on the shoulders of those that have been given the task of being directors,” Mr Sichinga stressed.
He said he was extremely concerned that despite the fact that Zambia was a member of several regional and international organisations, Zambians did not seem to place great importance on what they wanted to be done and said in these institutions.
“In SADC if you assume that our trade is 100 percent shared among the SADC members, 72 percent of it is generated by South Africa, eight percent of it is by Namibia, then comes Zimbabwe at four percent.”
“Zambia has a disputed distinction of fourth place, at best we contribute four percent and at worst two percent and then the balance 12 percent is shared among the remaining 12 members,” he explained.
Mr Sichinga pondered why Zambia along with other regional countries had paid the price of its people being killed during Southern African liberation wars if there was no equality in economic trade relations.
He said he believed that post colonial African leaders and forbearers felt that with a free sub continent, African countries could trade with one another freely.
“But I did not hear that it would be a skewed arrangement. I am aware also that the East African community broke up because only one player was having the bulk of it and I ask the question: “Where are the directors who will say: “Minister, this thing is not working well, this thing is not working right?” he challenged.
Mr Sichinga repeatedly highlighted that the IOD had not done enough to jostle and remind the government to protect Zambia’s national resource and position on the African continent.
He said African countries had made an attempt to put one of their own as President at the World Bank but did not succeed and he wanted to know where the voices of the directors were in such a scenario.
He said the IOD needed to protect the developing world from being exploited by foreign economic giants.
“We as government are servants among you fellow workers yet who is advising us? You have the skills of analysis. You have the skills and knowledge of what we should be doing in all these boards but where are you? Mr Sichinga begged a response.
And on the same night, 57 new members were admitted to the IOD while 11 members were accredited as trainers in corporate governance.
Zambia Daily Mail