GOVERNEMNT should begin to give Zambians big contracts to avoid capital flight when these are awarded to foreigners, says Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) president Geoffrey Sakulanda.
Mr Sakulanda said it was Government’s duty to control capital flight by empowering citizens by way of awarding them with big contracts which were current being given to foreigners.
He explained that it was difficult to improve the exchange rate because all the money foreign investors generated was shipped out of Zambia.
“Why do we have many foreign contractors in the country? Because they are making money which they are sending to their countries,
“It’s our duty to improve ourselves; Government can curb capital flight by empowering citizens to step in the shoes of foreigners. Government must ensure those big contracts are not always given to the Chinese,” he said.
He said local contractors had to keep fighting for Government attention so that it could build capacity among its own people.
“Yes locals will fail you the first time, you stiffen the regulations, and they will fail you again until they start getting the right thing done because that money needs to stay in Zambia,” he said.
Mr Sakulanda said foreigners used that money to improve lives of their citizens and economies.
“Most of major construction works are being done by foreign companies especially roads, hospitals, bridges and as soon as they are paid, the money is taken to the Bank of China and goes back to their country,” he said.
He said citizens had to be mindful that the mines which accounted for 80 percent foreign exchange were not owned by Zambians.
Mr Sakulanda explained that mine owners shipped out their profits and only left in Zambia what they needed to meet local expenses for operations.
“Miners borrow that money from banks and foreign exchange is taken abroad; the exchange rate will not improve because we are not manufacturing for export so we cannot expect a good kwacha exchange rate.
“What is made in hotels, lodges in our national parks and shops is shipped out and Zambians get nothing in return because each one of us wants to buy from shops like Shoprite, Pick n Pay and Game Stores. The little foreign Zambia makes is shipped out because we are not buying local products,” he said.
Mr Sakulanda noted that it was about time Zambians changed their attitude and started working very hard.