The Vice President was response to Leader of the opposition Pf Mporokoso member of parliament, Brian Mundubile during the Vice President’s Question Time, during national assembly sittings, who wanted to know how the government would finance President Hichilema’s travel to US when he had told the world that the coffers of the country were empty.
Mr. Mundubile also wanted to know why President Hichilema was going to physically attend the United Nation General Assembly when there was an option of attending the assembly virtually.
President Hichilema is next week expected to leave for the US to attend the United Nation General Assembly.
He is also is schooled to meet US President Joe Biden and attend to various in bilateral engagements.
The Vice President said that President Hichilema would also use the trip to meet with IMF as a way giving comfort and confidence to the country’s lenders as government continues brainstorming on how to restructure its debt.
‘When you talk of the treasury being empty, it means the treasury has no capacity to do everything they need to do. Madam speaker, we may have a little money in the reserve but you don’t go into that as expenditure. It is important to understand that if you are so highly indebted compared to what you have, it is simple mathematics. What you have compared to what you need now if what you need is higher than what you have, you have noting,” said the Vice President amidst running commentary from members of the PF.
“You cannot talk about the President’s travelling as an issue of empty coffers. At that moment, you need everything that you can to get to the UN General Assembly because it is during this travels that you start realizing… bring in money. As they President goes, he will surely be with investors and we need them if we have to grow the economy.”
And in responding to Shiwangundu member of parliament Steven Kampyongo who asked the Vice President why her government had decided to scrap off the three months debt swap initiated by the PF, Vice President Nalumango said that most civil servants were highly indebted because of government’s failure to remit what they were deducting from them and pay back to the lending institutions.
“We are extremely interested and we care for them. However, the debt swap has many angles to it. That if it we look at it seriously we may find that the former government was culpable of failing the workers,” she said.
“Some of those under the debt swap, negotiated for three years. Some of the debts which the civil servants are seemingly indebted with is due to the failure of the same government that wanted to pretend to care for them to remit that which was deducted from the workers, she said.
“We are also Zambians, we live here. This swap was cosmetic. Therefore madam speaker, we want to have a serious relook at this before we can say it continues.”
And responding to Mongu Central member of parliament who wanted to know when government would implement free education, the Vice President said introduction of free education would be gradual.
“There is no pronouncement as to ‘I am sworn-in 10hours, as I heard somebody and 14:00 hours free education in our statements whether in our campaign or manifesto. Yes free education is important and we will pursue it but please this means progressively,” she said.
“We have said there is in money in the coffers, if there is no money even to do the very necessary, how are we therefore going to immediately implement. Implementation of government of a government that takes over from the government does not just go grabbing money . We are in a budget session and that will depend on what we will put together as to start this progress.