Dundumwenzi UPND member of parliament Edgar Sing’ombe says the 2018 national budget is a “topical ulcer which Zambians will be nursing the entire year”.
And Mongu central UPND member of parliament Dr Mwilola Imakando says the 2018 budget has not created favourable conditions for the creation of new jobs.
Debating Minister of Finance Felix Mutati’s budget speech yesterday, Sing’ombe said the 2018 budget was the worst he had seen since he became a member of parliament.
“Mr Speaker it’s quite hard to define this budget but if you allow me, I would simply call it dondamwaka. In my native language, dondamwaka, Mr Speaker means a topical ulcer. Mr Speaker if you allowed me to just give you how a brief of what the people of Dundumwenzi says when they look at this budget, it’s a budget that has not changed their livelihood in many years. I want to state that this is my 11th year sitting here listening to a national budget being presented by various Ministers of Finance and what I have noticed is that this budget is actually worse than I have heard in the previous years. And I am going to illustrate,” said Sing’ombe.
“Mr Speaker before MMD left, as a constituency we had more than 15 satellite depots but as I stand here, Dundumwezi has less than 10 satellite depots and this is a constituency that produces tons and tons of our staple food. Just last week, I was in the constituency and I toured a number of depots. I discovered that more than 150 farmers had supplied their maize to FRA yet only three people been paid. This is why the people of Dundumwezi are saying this is a topical ulcer of a budget and they shall spend the whole of 2018 just nursing it.”
And in his debate, Dr Imakando lamented that the budget did not provide opportunities for job creation.
“Mr Speaker, the people of Mongu are not inspired by the 2018 national budget. There are no jobs which will be created. They [PF] have admitted by saying that GDP growth will only be about 4%, with a 4% GDP growth there will be no new firms coming on the scene and therefore Mr Speaker, there is no hope,” Dr Imakando said.
He also observed that so many projects had been abandoned.
“Let me refer to the promise made by the PF government. Mr Speaker, the PF government unsolicited for, promised the people of Mongu that they will build Lewanika University. Mr Speaker in Western Province we value education and when we heard that a university was going to be built for us, we were very excited. Mr Speaker, as they have abandoned many projects, Lewanika University has been abandoned too. I took time during the suspension just to walk around and what I saw Mr Speaker were abandoned structures. There was nothing that looked like a university but Mr Speaker I do hope that as the President said that the construction at Lewanika University will commence, I hope that it will commence and I must add Mr Speaker that there is a stadium when you go to the site, you will only find shrubs but the people of Mongu are waiting to see if even the little that in this budget will be given to them,” said Dr Imakando.
Meanwhile, Chiengi FDD member of parliament Given Katuta said the 2018 national budget was too expensive for Zambians to survive.
“Mr Speaker, I have always wondered what the Zambia National Service is doing, we want to bring foreigners to come and do farming here in our country when we have people who can actually be trained under ZNS to do these things? Because other countries are doing just that. Why would we bring somebody to come and grow Cassava as an investor? When in Luapula especially in Chiengi people grow Cassava and these are youths just empower them. I would want to further speak about these same farm blocks that PF is talking about, I see that they are talking about taking these farm blocks to Muchinga and other provinces but what about Luapula? Because Luapula has got vast land, is it because in Chiengi people have got an opposition MP? But this is a democracy. Then also I also want the government to please give us the statistics of your achievements for the 2017 budget because I didn’t hear any achievement and it all looks like theory to me. In any case, this budget is just so expensive for Zambians especially the poor people of Chiengi,” said Katuta.