Sat, 26 Nov 2016 14:12:19 +0000
GOVERNMENT should not leave the procurement of petroleum products entirely in the hands of the private sector as it could cause insecurity, says economist Lubinda Habazoka.
Dr Habazoka said in an interview that Minister of Finance Felix Mutati should not cause Government to abandon the procurement of finished petroleum products and leave it completely in private hands.
He explained that it was the duty of Government to ensure that there was energy security in Zambia.
“The minister should wait and ensure that he does not move away from procuring finished petroleum because the job of Government is to ensure energy security.
“The private sector can be included but certain things are better run by Government because we already know how the mining companies are ‘efficiently’ operating and contributing to Government revenue. At the moment we are just as good as not having a mining industry and all because of the private sector,” he said.
Dr Habazoka suggested that Government must build fuel reserves which could be helpful in times of crisis.
Meanwhile, Dr Habazoka said the introduction of 10 percent export duty on maize would discourage the production of the commodity.
He explained that this would also defeat the purpose of Government’s aim of diversifying sources of foreign exchange.
“Maize is one of the most hectic types of farming because of high costs of production, not only because of weeding but fertiliser as well.
“The introduction of 10 percent export duty on maize is going to discourage maize production and defeats the purpose of Government’s aim to diversify our sources of foreign exchange,” he said.
Dr Habazoka explained that the economy was currently growing at a slow rate and Government was supposed to ensure that it was growing faster by earning more foreign exchange.