By SIMON MUNTEMBA
CLAIMS by President Hakainde Hichilema that his Government inherited empty coffers are just excuses not to fulfil their unrealistic campaign promises, PF vice president Given Lubinda has said.
And former Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu has challenged the UPND Government to disclose the name of creditors purported to have been hidden and the amounts that were obtained from them.
Mr Lubinda said it did not add up for the UPND Government to claim that it inherited empty coffers when Zambia on a daily basis has continued to collect taxes.
He said the allegations were unsubstantiated because Government run-institutions such as the Zambia Revenue Authority were collecting revenues on a daily basis to an extent of correcting more than the target.
Mr Lubinda was speaking during a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday.
“If he inherited the empty coffers, where is he going to get the money to open Parliament and pay parliamentarians? Let him just fulfil the campaign promises especially on the free education because our people are tired of paying school fess,” he said.
He however said the PF MPs shall cooperate in making a budget to ensure that by the end of the year, no child would pay school fees.
Mr Lubinda also called on the Food Reserve Agency to stop buying maize at a K150 floor price per 50 kg bag because the UPND promised to start buying at K250 effective September 1, this year.
He said it was unnecessary for President Hichilema to make wild claims against his own country using international media organisations because he was no longer in opposition.
“President ‘Bally’ must come to reality that he is no longer in opposition, the sooner he realises this the better for him and the people of Zambia.
“He is not in opposition and it will no longer benefit him by painting Zambia black to the international community, that time is gone. He is the number one promoter of Zambian interests,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said by making wild and unsubstantiated allegations in trying to fix the PF, the President could just be fixing himself.
Meanwhile, Dr Ng’andu said the assertions that Zambia’s debt numbers were understated were not true.
“If you declare a lower figure and the restructuring is based on figures, you will not achieve your objectives of arriving at new debt level that your economy will be able to manage.
“The declaration of a debt figure that is lower than the actual debt is meaningless act of self-deception because the remedy will not be adequate to deal with the problem at hand,” he said.
Dr Ng’andu said that debts sustainability negotiations were only possible if the correct figures were disclosed.
“We challenge anyone who claims that our debt numbers were understated, to show us who the new creditors are, because to say we owe $38 billion is total nonsense,” Dr Ng’andu said.