President Edgar Lungu led a delegation to New York for the UN Conference. It is understood that the plane chartered for the trip cost tax-payers US$300,000. It is not known how much the delegation spent on accommodation, local transport, food, drinks, out-of-pocket allowances..
In a few weeks time, another delegation led by the Vice President Inonge Wina is on the move. This time to London. The delegation is scheduled to travel to London on 4th November for the so-called Trade Mission to be hosted by Zambia’s High Commissioner Muyeba Chikonde.
The Vice President will be accompanied by six Ministers and other high ranking staff as follows:
1. Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Commerce
2. Alexander Chikwanda, Minister of Finance
3. Dr Denny Kalyalya, Governor, Bank of Zambia
4. Patrick D Chisanga, Director General, ZDA
5. Hon Given Lubinda, Minister of Agriculture
6. Chance Kabaghe, Executive Director, Indaba Agric
7. Hon Christopher Yaluma, Minister of Mines
8. Representative, Zambia Chamber of Mines
9. Representative, ZESCO
10. Hon Yamfwa Mukanga, Minister of Transport
11. Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe, Chief Executive, Zamtel
12. Hon Jean Kapata, Minister of Tourism & Arts
13. Felix Chaila, Managing Director, Zambia Tourist Board
In addition, 40 support staff and journalists will be in the delegation. How much will be spent on this delegation is everyone’s guess.
The economy is performing at its worst in 15 years. The dollar has lost value by about 100% in one year. The cost of servicing Eurobonds is sharply increasing. Budget deficit is rising by the day. The cost living is rising sharply with mealie meal, bread, and other essentials becoming hardly affordable to common man. Meantime, by-elections, foreign trips, allowances are gobbling millions of dollars with no tangible results on the table.
The world has gone digital. Now, there is video conferencing. Equipment for video conferencing was procured to cover the London High Court ZAMTROOP trial of the late President Chiluba. Why not cut costs by using video conferencing to save resources for our ailing economy? Alternatively, why not invite investors to come to Zambia?
The persons that the delegation will meet i.e. James Thornton, Former British High Commissioner to Zambia; Damoni Kitabire, Resident Representative, AfDB; Peter Hain, Former British Cabinet Minister and MP; Alistair Harrison, Former British High Commissioner to Zambia; Richard Bennett, Chief Executive, Sunbird Bioenergy; and a Representative, Tower Resources can all afford to travel to Zambia, if there are business opportunities here.
It now clear for all to see that PF Government has high affinity for wasteful expenditure.