Understandably so, the purchase of the Gulfstream jet was done corruptly and individuals involved in the procurement process should be followed and prosecuted but I don’t think even selling it would make any economic sense but a worst of time and it is deviating the attention we need to the mishandling of the FISP program. Even if we manage to sale, we will not recover the amount of money we spent on it so let’s not worst time on it!
From the information gathered, over two hundred thousand civil servants and further, over one hundred thousand subsistence farmer said to be beneficiaries of the social cash transfer have been removed from the FISP program!
I don’t know the rationale behind this decision made by the UPND government but it will cost the nation and increase food insecurity at household and national levels.
While in opposition, the ruling government rod on the promise that it will increase the number of beneficiaries and the number of bags of fertilizer given to farmers to 8bags from 4bags and further reduce the purchase price of fertilizer to k250 per bag. With no doubt, if that were to be actualized, it would have brought about massive agriculture production and boost food security at household and national levels and benefit the nation economically. That forgotten promise would have reduced the price of maize meal to the promised k50 per 25kgs bag, increased export earnings of maize and feed for our county and reduce cost of daily products and chickens.
It is however sad that the opposite will transpire come 2023 if not deliberate or radical measures are undertaken to avert the looming hunger. Amidst high cost of fuel and electricity tariffs and low agriculture productivity the nation will experience high food prices to go above the affordability of many Zambians and that will cause a lot of anxiety.
In making that decision, did government think the vulnerable people that benefit from the social cash transfer can afford to buy on their own fertilizer with the kind of money they a paid with the current price of fertilizer? Denying these people fertilizer is more like killing them and it will not help government in any way but increase there vulnerability, they depend on their own produce for food and sale to FRA.
Did government care to know who the major maize supplies to FRA are?
The over two hundred thousand civil servants removed from the FISP program happened to be contributors, they too produce for home consumption and sale to FRA.
Did government care to count number of bags we will lose with that decision? (multiply the number of people removed by the average production)
What’s important now is not the sale of the Gulfstream jet or meeting IMF condition but thinking of how best we can make the life of people cheaper and affordable for the ordinary people.
May our good lord grand our leaders wisdom and bless the nation of Zambia!
By Eugene Mulenga