100 reasons why Zambia is poor – Part 2 – Niza Phiri, Munali 2016

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#95 Extreme ‘Caderism’

Our policy makers just argue on party lines, No matter how brilliant a bill or policy is, or how progressive it will be for zambia, if its from the opposition , Govt Mps will shoot it down, if its from govt opposition mps will shoot it down. Before we were anything, we were Zambian, let’s behave like it.

#94 “Only Maize” Mentality

We generally just farm a single type of crop, and our citizens refuse to eat anything else but Nshima. In 2004 , a drought had pegged our zambia, worst hit was western province, between Mundia Sikatana and Dr Mwanawasa, they arrived at a plan to buy up sweet potatoes from small scale farmers to take to the area. The people refused and claimed it was disrespectful for government to give them sweet potatoes as their food, they indicated that they deserved better. With nowhere to take the potatoes, a botswana firm offered to buy up all the trucks because sweet potatoes were used in lotion manufacture. All the sweet potatoes where purchased. This has not been further explored. There are 2 points here. 1.we need to diversify crops because different foods can survive in different climates and weather conditions, if we have and accept certain foods as part of the main diet as opposed to side dishes. Hunger may be a thing of the past. 2. We need to identify what crops are marketable on the outside and grow them locally.

#93 The Kwacha

I am not a financial expert,but surely, it must be a big headache to do international business and keep your money in kwacha. Because of the instability of the currency, most businessmen prefer to keep their money in a foreign currency thereby increasing demand for the foreign currencies and further weakening the kwacha and our economy keeps suffering. The surest way is to ensure currency strength is to increase the number and quantity of exports, but in the mean time, a policy needs to be set up for companies and investors to bank locally , using kwacha accounts to build confidence in the local currency and increase demand for the kwacha.

#92 Urbanisation

Most of us have decided to settle along the line of rail, and fight for the scarce land and resources in these areas. An example: lusaka and kitwe account for about 40 percent of zambias population. That is absurd when you look at the size of our country. People develop areas. If we had more people in the rural or remote areas, these people will build houses, and the government will be forced to take services like roads, schools, hospitals and so on. Whilst investors and local businessmen will take shoping malls and so on. But you can not force people to go to areas where there is no economic activity. Govt , needs to understand when setting up state owned companies and factories, the best location for them is the rural areas . People will follow employment wherever it is and development will take place.

#91 Fuel

Why is Zambia’s fuel the most expensive fuel in southern africa? and amongst the top 5 most expensive in africa? The answer is middle men and Kuwait. Fuel is the driver of any economy, any fluctuations in its pricing affects everything. So why do we spend so much on importing fuel from kuwait? And not angola our neighbour? In my research I was told that Zambia’s indeni plant has not yet built the capacity to refine angolan oil because it has a high sulfur content. So I enquired further if it we’re possible to upgrade the facility for it to be able to process angola crude oil. They told me yes it was. That led me to think, If we could upgrade the facility, why are we not doing so? The real reason then is middlemen. Most govt officials are eating off transportation contracts and this further increases fuel prices, this has caused a reluctance to change the system. The PF govt though has talked about setting up a pipeline from angola. But it seems Just like mere rhetoric for now as opposed to a project to be implemented.

Continued in next issue

Niza Phiri, Munali 2016

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