By Ernest Chanda
GOOD governance activist Brebner Changala has asked government to change the currency as a way of dealing with people who have kept huge amounts of cash in their homes.
He says the “methodical approach has failed or is failing”.
“Because of pressure, certain ministers who were silent like Mtolo have decided to speak out because they have seen that their political tenure in office is now threatened. And they are trying to go and dig for money in people’s farms, seven months down the line, and the culprits are mocking them – repeatedly so,” Changala noted.
On Monday, The Mast carried a story where agriculture minister Reuben Mtolo said there was no money in the economy because people who stole under the PF administration were hiding it.
“If you notice, we have challenges with money. Where is the money? Those who were stealing the money in the past are hiding money. They fear that they could be arrested and because of the high fuel prices, the money is scarce,” said Mtolo.
And in supporting Mtolo’s concern, Changala said people proposed a change of currency immediately the PF lost elections in August 2021 but the new dawn government did not want to listen.
“And it is also good that one of the men from Cabinet, Mr Mtolo, has come to admit that there is no money because thieves from the previous administration have kept their money in houses and they are not spending. It also goes to show that this government does not listen to the citizenry,” he said.
“From the onset, in September there was a serious demand from the Zambians that this government must change the currency. They must go flat out and recover this cash which has been stashed somewhere because the PF administration was not banking money; it was not banking cash. And this has led to the shrinking of our financial sector.”
Changala praised Mtolo for speaking out when others were quiet on a serious national problem.
“If you realised, all banks that had opened their outlets throughout Lusaka, Copperbelt and provincial centres, have closed their branches because there is no liquidity. And there is no major financial activity in the economy,” he explained.
“It is highly gratifying, though disappointing, that the Cabinet through Mr Mtolo has acknowledged that there is no money in circulation. And this is the song we have been singing. We have encouraged this administration, knowing very well that the government is the biggest supplier of money in the economy through contracts and other services that are rendered by suppliers.”
Changala also blamed the government for freezing payments to all contractors who provided goods and service during the PF reign, calling it a careless decision.
He wondered why the UPND was not explaining its economic strategy.
“And to put a moratorium that nobody must be paid for as long as the contract was done under the previous administration has now backfired, resulting in the shortage of medicines in hospitals. And one would wonder how many Zambians died out of this careless decision by this administration?” he said.
“There is another serious challenge. This government has come into place but it has not explained to the people of Zambia what its economic strategy is to revive the economy. They have not told the people of Zambia what their strategy is on job creation. They have been talking about micro-economic and prudence…and most importantly they have told us that they are being methodical.”
Changala said there was nothing inspiring about UPND’s “methodical” approach to running the country.
“There is nothing inspiring in their methodical system other than promoting poverty levels and economic collapse. Their methodical approach has failed or is failing, whichever way you look at it,” said Changala.
“Because of pressure, certain ministers who were silent like Mtolo have decided to speak out because they have seen that their political tenure in office is now threatened. And they are trying to go and dig for money in people’s farms, seven months down the line, and the culprits are mocking them – repeatedly so.”