THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has attributed the falling of the Kwacha and the current economic woes the country is going through to external factors for which the country has no control.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said the continued depreciation of the Kwacha and the country’s economic woes were as a result of the movements in the Chinese economy which had impacted negatively on the global economy and that he did not want to pretend that the country’s economy could be tackled directly without considering external factors.
Mr Hichilema however said it was not economically acceptable to blame the deterioration of the Kwacha and the poor performance of the economy to external shocks alone because there were actions and decisions that Government could make to mitigate the current economic challenges.
Mr Hichilema said in the face of ever-rising cost of living coupled with electricity deficit, Zambians were increasingly becoming stressed and that it was understandable and justified for citizens to express dissatisfaction at the rate things were going in the country.
The UPND leader said in his weekly brief to the nation that Zambians across the country were struggling to keep their business open and running while ordinary citizens were finding it difficult to meet their daily needs.
Mr Hichilema said the movements in the Chinese economy had impacted the global economy and had caused a lot of damage on the copper prices for which Zambia largely depended on for its foreign exchange.
He said the prescription to the current economic woes was diversification and the creation of value-addition industry and investing in the agriculture sector as well as empowering youths and women so that they could fully participate in the economic development of the country.
“I do not deny that the falling of the Kwacha and the current economic woes are related in part to external events over which we have little or direct control. The movements in the Chinese economy which are impacting the global economy and which are particularly damaging for the copper prices we rely on for foreign exchange. The UPND does not pretend it is possible to tackle such trends directly but however, we cannot blame our current situation to external factors alone and it would be laziness to do so,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema proposed that Government should unlock the factors of production such as land and labour which he said was potentially in the youthful population as well as investing in water bodies coupled with what he termed stable policy environment. He said there was need for Government to provide incentives to value-adding industries which he said would deliver higher rewards to the economy apart from contributing to the treasury through taxes.
Mr Hichilema advised that Government should consider consulting businesses and investors on how the expansion of the emerging industries could be achieved and supported by Government.
He said the Patriotic Front (PF) government should quickly deliver on its vision because time was running out adding that too many sectors with a lot of potential such as energy, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture had been woefully neglected for far too long.
Mr Hichilema said Government should begin planning about the fluctuation of the Kwacha because economic conditions shall not always be the same adding that adverse economic environments needed radicle decisions.