The Plight of the Diasporas

The posting below comes from facebook, it was posted by Sidique Abdullah Gondwe Geloo who is the President of the Zambian group in America.

DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED…Why am I disappointed?
In our quest as AZA to help the Embassy of Zambia in Washington to reach and have rapport with the greater population of Zambians in America, I made the following offer to the embassy
We requested that they send one official to the Independence event in Atlanta where almost 30 Zambians from all over America wanted passports. ALL that official needed to do was to interview people for these Zambian passports. The Embassy told me, they did not have money to send an official to Atlanta. So I made them another offer, all for the love of working together as Zambians. I told them we would pay for that official’s Air ticket .Not only would we pay for their air ticket, we went further and offered to pay for that official’s accommodation.
Their answer was. ..NO. why? They said it’s unfair for us. I told them we are offering them this chance to help Zambians. . They still said no.
The ambassador travels around the US visiting universities, doing things that dont help Zambia as much as sending an official to where many Zambians are to help them get Zambian passports would do. And they find that normal. What kind of mentality is this??
When I reported to my fellow Zambians that the embassy had refused even our offer to help them help Zambians, they said , ” now you know why it will take us ages to ever have faith in these so called representatives. Even when we make it easy for them, they still find a way to disappoint us.”
I apologize to all those that looked forward to having their passports done, those that thought we were finally getting the embassy to do right. I am sorry we so have a long way to go. But wherever you are my fellow Zambians, let’s just enjoy , dance, and keep helping ourselves. Love you all

ZAMBIAN VOICE VIEW POINT

I hope the embassy will respond to with a statement on this matter because this is a very serious issue. Sidique Abdullah Gondwe Geloo lets fight this from both ends.
Send me a list of all those with issues which need to be attended to by the embassy and they are not being helped. Of course we want people to be honest and factual so that we are fair with our brothers and sisters in the mission (we should not accuse them wrongly). We will then pick it up from here with relevant ministries and other authorities.
Furthermore, let us create a link between those in diaspora and some NGO/CSOs that can fight for you from at home. At times these people in the mission do nothing but they are being paid by Taxpayers. Such people should be exposed and recalled if necessary. You are Zambians and just like we fight for our brothers and sisters here at home we should be able to look at your welfare as well.

James Thornton is Right on The Wage Freeze In Zambia

British High Commissioner to Zambia James Thornton has backed the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s decision to maintain the wage freeze on the civil service in the 2015 financial year.

Thornton says his concern is the broader economic situation of Zambia.

Thornton says if government is to control fiscal deficits, one of the ways to do so is to restrict public spending.

The British envoy says this is why he thinks that by imposing a wage freeze on the civil service, the Zambian government is trying to cut down on deficits especially that the public service was recently awarded a huge pay increment.

Last year (2013) the public worker’s wage bill represented 52% of the total budget. In 2015 Budget, the same expense represents 50%.

Zambia has a total public worker force of about 278 while the total population stands at 14 million people.

 MEDIA BREAKFAST ON 20TH OCTOBER 2014

tea

The Zambian Voice would like to invite all media houses for a Jubilee media breakfast where we will deliver our Jubilee message.

Among the issues to be discussed among others will be:

  1. Political, Social and Economic situation in the Country
  2. Political, Social and Economic Forecast

VENUE:        The Lusaka Hotel

DATE:           20th October 2014

TIME:           10:00HRS

 

PLEASE OBSERVE TIME

THE 2015 BUDGET- WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Emmanuel Mwamba facebook Photo

By Emmanuel Mwamba

(THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE NOT OF THE ZAMBIAN VOICE AS AN ORGANISATION BUT OF THE AUTHOR WHO IS A FORMER PERMANENT SECRETARY AND A RENOWNED JOURNALIST)

‘’Shamenda Refuses to be Wage Freeze Envoy” screamed the headline in The Post edition of 15th October 2014.

One would ask: “How can the Minister of Labour disown provisions of his own government budget and speak like an overzealous union official?”

If you read The Post as your only source of information, you would be persuaded to assume that the narrative on national issues had degenerated to low levels.

For how does one explain the recent banner headline in the paper that stated; “2015 Budget a Theft Scheme- Edith Nawakwi”

How can a national budget be a theft and corrupt scheme? How can Zambia’s first and only female Finance Minister who is also FDD President make such utterances?

Is this dialogue genuine? Can a national budget truly be a corrupt or theft scheme as alleged by Nawakwi in The Post?

Another headline of interest  attributed to Vice President Guy Scott  read; “We are Not Looking at Right things – Guy Scott”.

How could the Vice-President, who was part of a Cabinet Meeting (and reportedly chaired it on behalf of President Sata) that approved the Budget, question its content publicly?

How can he let alone differ with or doubt the Budget’s economic philosophy?

What happened to the hallowed principle of collective responsibility by members of Cabinet?

It need not be labored that The Post has declared an open war with Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda and are keen to portray him in the darkest of

terms, demonstrate that he has failed in his job and probably attempt to alienate him from President Sata, his colleagues and in the minds of right thinking Zambians.

But the questions that beg answers are; Is this Chikwanda’s Budget or a government Budget? Didn’t Cabinet sit and approve the proposals and estimates from the Ministry of Finance? Wasn’t Chikwanda presenting the Budget on behalf of government and President Michael Sata?

Infact the statements attributed to Vice President, Guy Scott and Minister of labour and Social Services Fackson Shamenda promote lawlessness and constitute an act of misconduct under the Ministerial and Parliamentary Code of Conduct Act no 35 of 1994, for disowning, disregarding or speaking against a collective decision made by Cabinet.

The law was made to regulate the conduct of our leaders in Cabinet and Parliament and both Scott and Shamenda know this but appear keen to breach these provisions.

What  is a Budget?

budget is a government document presenting government’s proposed revenues and spending for a financial year.

Following the approval by Cabinet, the Minister of Finance on behalf of the Republican President, proceeds to present the Budget to Parliament for approval,

A Budget is an invaluable tool that helps prioritize expenditure and helps manage the country’s resources. It can be a surplus, deficit or balanced budget.

The Budget proposes to raise revenue from taxes and fees imposed and propose to spend it on health, education, infrastructure, and other sectors.

In this budget and in attempt to optimize output or results, Chikwanda has moved the budget from an activity-based budget (ABB) to an output-based budget (OBB).

What are the Issues?

Zambia like many African countries comprises a population of majority of young people. The demographic distribution is that; 53% of the population comprises young people below the age of 18 years, 68% of the population comprises young people below the age of 25 years and 90% of the population is people below the age of 45 years.

The 2015 Budget recognizes that this scenario presents a dangerous scenario if this active population is not provided with economic means.

And that this scenario can be turned to a good opportunity for an active labour force if employment and empowerment opportunities could be created for it.

Since Zambia is an economy that relies on copper, suffers from low technological advancement, experiences low productivity, suffers from underdevelopment and is battling with high unemployment rates, it is imperative that aggressive policies to reverse this scenario are implemented.

Unless we are to make significant changes to diversify the economy and drive Zambia to economic independence, this sad scenario will continue.

Can this budget help bring economic independence to millions of Zambians?

Buoyed by growth in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 6.5%, a projected good crop harvest, increased electricity generation, continued investments in private and public infrastructure, and anticipated growth in sectors such as manufacturing, transport and communications, the country is on the right path.

 Where is the Money Coming from?

The total Budget is K46.7billion. Up-to 88.5% or K41.2 billion will be raised using domestic revenue measures and financing.

Government hopes to raise K11.8 billion (25.3%) from Income Tax (company income, Pay as You Earn (PAYE), and withholding taxes), Mineral Royalties will contribute K5.9 billion (12.7%), Value Added Tax (domestic and import duty) will contribute K6.57billion (14.10%), and Customs, Exercise and Fuel Levy will contribute K6.97billion and Non-Tax Revenues (fees,fines, exceptional dividends) will raise K3.8billion.

Grants and foreign loans will only contribute 11.5% or K5.3billion of the budget far from the earlier years when financing of up-to 40% of the budget came from foreign grants and loans.

The Wage Freeze- The Elephant in the Room

As a rule thumb worldwide, public sector wage bill should be between 5% to 25% of the National Budget or up-to about 8% of the country’s GDP. This is to ensure that the economy remains stable and competitive.

This is also important to allow government remain with adequate resources to buy medicines in hospitals, provide education and other social services, buy goods and services and embark on infrastructural development.

Following the large pay awards in 2013 that saw the minimum salary for general workers rise to K3, 000.00 far higher than the private sector (which is paying K700 minimum wage), and a rationalization of salaries for all professionals the waged bill jumped to dizzying levels.

Zambia’s public sector wage bill now stands at 52% of the national budget!! This means that over half of the country’s resources are being spent on paying emoluments for 170,000 workers in the public sector.

It is held that government is the employer of last resort and that this expenditure is justifiable due to lack of available formal jobs in the economy.

But the current scenario is totally unacceptable and requires immediate solution. The wage freeze, in the interim is a temporal measure. But the long-term solution might require a trim to this bloated civil service. (Loss of jobs is an undesirable measure but looking at the current public sector wage bill, this is but inevitable).

In my view, the wage freeze and the rising contention over it, is as a result of failure of effective communication by government on this sensitive matter.

First of all, the 200% pay awards that were dished out in the 2013 Budget should have been staggered to a period of two years.

Further although the workers feel that the wage freeze will affect them negatively in light of the increase in food prices and the family food basket, they should be reminded that significant amount of the country’s resources is being spent on the 170,000 lucky ones and that the 14 million Zambians are left in the cold crying for development benefits from the same limited resource envelope.

The civil service is a mere secretariat for government and the people of Zambia. Resources should be spent on Zambia and its people and not the current scenario, where the secretariat is gobbling over half the resources before programs and projects for the people of Zambia are embarked upon.

The Money has Been Spent on Roads!!

This is a strong remark that is constantly being made by union officials that government has spent all its money on roads!

The scrutiny of the budget, however, tells a different story.

Only K5.6 billion is being spent on the road sector. This is a response to the ambitious Link Zambia 8000 project, a legacy project for President Sata that many people; especially our folks in rural areas have appreciated.

General Public Services (public affairs, constitution making process, CDF, local and foreign debt service and compensation and awards) have received K12billion (25.8%).

Defence units have receivedK3.2billion (7%).

Public Order and Safety has been allocated K2.1billion (4.7%).

Economic Affairs (FISP, Empowerment Funds, FRA, Rural Electrification, ZESCO power rehabilitation, road infrastructure) has received K12.7billion (27.3%).

TheEducation Sector has received K9.4billion (20.2%) and the Health Sector has received K4.4billion (9.6%).

Others are social protection;environmental protection, housing and communityamenities, recreation, culture and religion receive the residual balances.

The infrastructure development has mostly benefited from financing from savings from abolished fuel subsidies and recent borrowings. It will be illogical to use these resources to consumptive programs such as wages.

Its just not roads that is the focus of this budget. Numerous programs to increase access to clean and safe drinking water for people in rural areas has been increased, the modernization of hospital infrastructure and upgrade of health facilities is underway besides other projects.

The Changes in the Mining Sector

To answer to the many concerns that Zambia is benefitting poorly from the mining sector, Government has redesigned the tax system that applies to the mines.

The new tax regime for mining operations has replaced the current two-tier system with the following mining tax structure:

(a) 8% Mineral Royalty for underground mining operations as a final tax;

(b) 20 % Mineral Royalty for open cast mining operations as a final tax.

(c) 30% CorporateIncomeTaxrateonincomeearnedfrom tolling; and

(d) 30% Corporate Income Tax rate on income earned from processing of purchased mineral ores, concentrates and any other semi-processed minerals, currently taxed as income from mining operations.

This new tax regime for the mines is intended to increase Government income from the mining sector. It is also aimed at increasing transparency in the sector and achieves a more equitable distribution of the mineral wealth between the Government and the mining companies.

Conclusion

This is an ambitious Budget in scope and in its ideals. If implemented properly, it forms a good earnest step into the next 50 years.

The issues surrounding the huge public sector wage bill, and the measure to impose a wage freeze, requires that government and public sector unions sit to discuss and have an honest discussion on the matter in order to find an amicable solution to the matter.

END

The Careless Remarks By Chishimba Kambwili Incited And Provoked UNZA Students

Kambwili2

Chishimba Kambwili

Mr. Chishimba Kambwili on Tuesday 15th October 2014 in the afternoon warned UNZA students not to dare him over the take-over of the former Commonwealth Youth Centre situated within UNZA grounds.The students want the property to be given to UNZA so that it can caution on the current accommodation shortage at the campus. The students on the other hand want to use the property for other purposes.

Mr. Kambwili promised to ruthlessly sort out the students saying he was a man of no nonsense.

“If they have threatened other ministers before, they cannot threatened me. I don’t tolerate nonsense from young boys and girls.That facility belongs the the Ministry of Youth and Sports. UNZA students are not the only youths. I will sort them out,” said the Minister of Youth and Sports.

These remarks incensed the UNZA students who later in the night on the same day took to the street rioting. It was later reported that four police officers were injured and five students were arrested and charged with riotous behaviour.

As an organisation we have been trying to engage the students on best ways of bringing out their grievances in a more amicable manner other than riotous behaviour. It is therefore saddening that malicious demonstrations are still happening in some universities and colleges. We certainly do not support lawlessness.

However, the statement of the Minister frustrates our efforts coming from a leader who is supposed to be like a parent. The minister is right to call for discipline at UNZA campus but not in the manner he did it. The manner in which the minister issued his counsel  to the students was inciting and provocative to students. It was also disrespectful to call students at campus as boys and girls because they are not so young to be treated as such. 

As a leader, the Youth Minister ought to know how to engage the youth. It is a natural fact that youth have so much energy and zeal which they want to externalize in all forms, therefore, elders need to handle them in a manner that will make them (youths) use their energy productively. No leader can command respect from youths if he approaches them in a forceful way. There must be maturity in the way we handle the youths. 

It is a pity that police officers got injured and we sympathize. However we are also worried for the youths who have to be inconvenienced out of school as a result of the arrest and court proceedings. Whilst the students are responsible for their actions, the minister too, need to take responsibility for his careless utterances which incited the youths. The minister should find amicable ways of sorting out the issues at campus so that students are not incensed or inconvenience

Kambwili confronting Ethopian refereeRecently Chishimba Kambwili caused a spurt when he allegedly issued some verbal assault on the match official, comments he 24 hours later denied ever making, and has since threatened legal action against scribes that transmitted those words to the larger audience.

However, pictures emerging from Nkana stadium captures Kambwili invading the pitch

and accosting the heavily guarded match officials. Kambwili’s gesture in these images is not those of a man saying “hello” or “congratulations for a job well done”.

The man in Nigeria regalia is seemingly fuming and issuing what those who were around him will term “unprintable”.

Graciously, Kambwili admits accosting the referees and telling them something; whatever it was he denies it had anything to do with “stupid” as journalists Abigail Chaponda, Kalumiana Kalumiana and other credible sources within earshot of the incident conveyed to the bigger audience.

http://bolazambia.com/en/?p=5771

Dangote Sues Fackson Shamenda

Mr. Aliko Dangote

Mr. Aliko Dangote

Dangote Cement’s Zambian subsidiary has sued the country’s labour minister for libel and slander after he accused an executive of the company of attempting to bribe him.

A row has been brewing between Zambia and Dangote Cement after the minister made the allegations in September.

Dangote said in papers filed in court that the minister had created an impression that the company was exploiting Zambian workers and enticing government officials with bribes.

“The plaintiff has been brought into public scandal and its reputation has been injured,” Dangote said in a writ of summons dated October 10 in Lusaka High Court.

The dispute appears to be the latest in a string of incidents in which the southern African nation’s government has resorted to unorthodox tactics against foreign investors it believes are circumventing labour laws.

Dangote Industries Zambia (DIZ) has 400 workers building a $400 million cement plant, a staff count that should rise to 2,000 when production starts in November.

During a tour of the plant in Ndola, the minister of labour, Fackson Shamenda, said a Nigerian executive attached to the Zambian unit tried to bribe him at a hotel.

The Minister was earlier given 24 hours to withdraw his statement or face court action. Mr. Shamenda opted to be sued by engaging a government lawyer (Attorney General).

 

http://allafrica.com/stories/201410140947.html

World Economy Needs Smart Fiscal Policies

IMF Survey

October 8, 2014

  • Smart fiscal policy could support jobs, bring public debt to safer levels
  • Fiscal policy can help achieve needed structural reforms
  • Targeted fiscal steps can tackle youth unemployment, labor market problems

Fiscal policies can help support job creation, though designing the right policies will depend on conditions in individual countries.

Job creation sits atop the policy agenda globally. High and persistent levels of unemployment call for a broad policy response, generally encompassing structural reform and other economic policies. While fiscal policy cannot substitute for comprehensive reforms, it can support job creation in a number of ways, according to the IMF’s latest Fiscal Monitor.

According to the International Labor Organization, global unemployment exceeds 200 million people, and an additional 13 million people are expected to be unemployed by 2018. In order to address the high and persistent levels of unemployment, the IMF is calling for a multipronged policy response, where fiscal policy works in tandem with broader structural reform efforts to support job creation.

“Under certain conditions, the fiscal decisions taken by countries can help promote labor market reforms,” said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department. “Labor market reforms can have sizeable costs. A higher deficit or slower pace of deficit reduction can absorb these costs and offset the adverse short-term impact of reforms on output and employment. It can also facilitate political consensus on reform, for instance, by compensating groups that may be adversely affected by the change. Smart fiscal policy also values public investment.”

Policymakers can use targeted measures—cuts in employers’ social contributions or reform of pension systems—as part of an arsenal of policies designed to help fix some of the current weaknesses in labor markets, such as high youth unemployment and low participation in the labor force by women and older workers. Measures targeted to specific labor market trouble spots are more cost effective than blanket ones.

The IMF Fiscal Monitor is published twice a year to track public finance developments around the world.

Advanced economies’ efforts on track

In advanced economies, a slowing pace of deficit reduction should provide support to economic activity. Fiscal efforts over the past five years in many of these countries have helped to stabilize debt-to-GDP ratios, though the average debt-to-GDP ratio across all advanced economies is expected to exceed 100 percent of GDP at the end of the decade. Hesitant recovery and risks of lowflation and reform fatigue call for fiscal policies that carefully balance support for growth and job creation with fiscal sustainability.

With continued uncertainties regarding the strength of the recovery, fiscal policies now often include measures aimed at increasing competitiveness, employment, and long-term growth. The challenge, according the Fiscal Monitor, is how to absorb the costs associated with these measures in such a way so as to keep overall budget deficit in check. This could be achieved by cutting spending in other areas or shifting to other forms of taxation.

Emerging markets on guard

Although budget deficits and debt ratios remain moderate on average, fiscal positions and risks vary widely across emerging market and middle-income economies. While immediate pressures on public finances have eased, the IMF sees lower potential growth, prospects of tighter financing conditions, and rising contingent liabilities as looming risks.

In emerging market and middle-income economies, debt ratios and deficits remain generally moderate, although on average above precrisis levels. The prospect of increasing risks calls for rebuilding the policy room for maneuver that was used during the last few years.

Geopolitical conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East could also raise fiscal risks, but the report acknowledges these are difficult to measure at this point in time.

Developing countries on uneven ground

As for low-income developing countries, with a few exceptions, immediate fiscal risks are generally moderate. A key policy challenge in low-income developing countries is to scale up the provision of social public services and growth-enhancing infrastructure, health, and education.

Looking forward, efforts should focus on improving fiscal outcomes through revenue mobilization, budget prioritization, and greater efficiency of public spending. Another important policy challenge is strengthening fiscal governance, especially for the growing number of low-income developing countries that are gaining access to global financial markets.

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2014/POL100814A.htm

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