By NATION REPORTER
NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Saboi Imboela says Government should consider reintroducing subsidies in key sectors of the economy to mitigate the suffering of citizens.
Ms Imboela said the removal of subsidies was an International Monetary Fund (IMF) condition, which was subjecting Zambians to untold misery and suffering.
“On the continued increase of fuel prices, we can safely say that the UPND has failed the Zambians because it has to do with the IMF bailout package.
“We kept on saying the IMF came with conditions and at first, they were even refusing that there have been reforms at the IMF and the conditions are not as bad as they were before but they are exactly the same,” Ms Imboela said.
She said contrary to assurances that the IMF conditions would not be harsh on Zambians, the new dawn administration had proceeded to remove subsidies on fuel, electricity and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
“So if you look at agriculture, it will even be worse this year because they have to even budget one percent of the total budget for agriculture, which is a huge mess. When it comes to fuel, it means that even the external shocks will hit us badly. When you have subsidies you are able cushion the shocks, which come from outside,” Ms Imboela said.
She said the new dawn administration should renegotiate the conditions with IMF and reintroduce subsidies in agriculture and energy if it has the interests of Zambians at heart.
Ms Imboela said it was unfortunate that the UPND viewed the IMF as the only solution to Zambia’s economic recovery, which was putting the lives of ordinary Zambians in jeopardy.
“Countries from which we are trying to copy from have subsidies for critical sectors like agriculture but because we are so dependent on borrowing, we want to get some money and then we have these kinds of bailout packages, which have conditions that do not make sense to this economy,” Ms Imboela said.
She added that it was time that the new dawn administration considered an economic recovery plan that would not subject Zambians to more suffering.