ZESCO sell worries Dr. Saviour Chishimba
By Gilbert Bwalya and Ashton Kelly Bunda
ZAMBIA cannot afford to put the energy and communication sector in the hands of foreigners through the privatization of key firms in these areas,” laments United Progressive People (UPP) leader Saviour Chishimba.
And Dr.Chishimba has confirmed that the UPP legal team will move in to put an injunction in an event these firms are privatized.
Speaking in an interview, Dr. Chishimba said it will be regrettable if the remaining Parastatals are privatized and put in private hands.
According to Dr. Chishimba, Israel, USA, Britain and Singapore among other countries have state enterprising assets.
“First of all, the Zambian economy cannot afford to put the energy sector like Zesco, Tazama and Indeni into private hands,” Dr. Chishimba noted.
Dr. Chishimba explained that the role of Government is to take policy measures that would help small and big businesses to thrive so that they can create employment.
The UPP leader added that the other role of Government is to constantly identify sectors that need more investment.
“Mind you the Private sector is primarily motivated by profit-making, so if the initial investment to set up a company is too high such that to recoup the investment it will take 20 years, there is no investor who would go to such a business hence Government must come in to invest in such sectors when Government becomes a prime mover it will stimulate demand and more investment will come in and when more investors come on board government can recoup investment to attract tax,” he said.
Dr. Chishimba said Zesco, Indeni and Tazama are very important because they provide the much needed energy to drive the economy.
He said Government must be interested in these companies because when they are put in private hands, the new investors would want to maximize the profits.
“Look at the electricity tariffs, they want to increase them to 300 percent in January meaning when you are paying K300 today, next year you be paying K1200 think about it and fuel will go up to K21 and you want such profits to be going to private investors,” he said.
Dr. Chishimba what is very annoying is that the PF Government will not be transparent in the manner they are going to sell the Parastatals.
“They want to say thank you to the companies that gave them money for campaigns in the last elections. That is what they are doing sir. I have information these are companies they signed agreements with so those who gave them K50 million they tell them that ‘we are going to sell you Zesco and for you to make quick money will are going to increase tariffs’. These people are so insensitive. I have never seen leaders like these leaders we have today. These companies must be left to support economic growth,” he said.
The former Kasama Central Member of Parliament said late Chiluba did not sale Zambia Railways because he knew that rail transport was the cost effective way of easing transportation of goods and human travel beyond Zambia.
Dr. Chishimba said when Mwanawasa came in he sold Zambia Railways.
“…But who benefited from this sale? Did the Zambian people benefit? Certainly no it was the politicians who benefited through kickbacks,” he said.