DR Lubinda Haabazoka (LEFT)

Economics Association of Zambia president Dr Lubinda Haabazoka says President Edgar Lungu is not responsible for the high levels of unemployment in Zambia because it has been prevalent since the privatization era commenced in the early 1990s.

And Dr Haabazoka says contrary to popular belief, President Lungu holds a lot of press conferences, but in unconventional places like airports.

Speaking when he featured on a Hot FM’s Frank on Hot programme, Tuesday, Dr Haabazoka said it was not right to blame President Lungu for all the unemployment challenges in the country because he did not create them.

“Unemployment levels started increasing after privatization in the 1990s and, unfortunately, from that period, Zambia has never recovered. Jobs are being created here and there, but not faster than the people are floating into society. If we are producing, say 500,000 jobs a year, then we are even going to ask for other people from other countries to come in to help. We have about 6.5 million economically-active citizens and we only have about a million jobs. That is a time bomb, if you understand this time bomb…and I don’t want people in government to misunderstand me to say, it’s them who started this. It started after privatization, over 220 companies sold, and half of them exported outside the country and no new jobs,” Dr Haabazoka said.

“We are also seeing a change in the structure of our economy. We have seen investment from the (Far) East, such [as where] you increase production efficiency, people coming with machinery… such kind of investment, despite bringing in the country, they are not creating jobs that we wanted. Look at the mining industry, the mining industry employs at maximum 30,000 people directly, indirectly another 20,000. So, about 60,000 people maximum are employed by the mining sector.”

He insisted that privatization of the mining sector was the reason why there was too much unemployment in Zambia.

“Look at our kwacha; when the kwacha is losing value, people are turning to one person, the President. But that’s wrong; we are fighting the wrong thing! Yes, he is answerable to what is happening in the economy, but this volatility in the kwacha did not start under him, it didn’t start under Chiluba. Yes, he is in charge, but if you want to solve the problem, you should not look at him, you should go back to the mining industry; the mining industry after privatization. I am not saying we should not blame him (President Lungu) for anything [but] I am saying we should focus on the actual problem, and the problem is the mining industry,” Dr Haabazoka argued.

“Imagine, if we were marketing and selling mineral resources here within Zambia, meaning people that wanted to buy our copper, cobalt and diamonds, were going to come and buy in Chambishi, in Kitwe and wherever, and they were going to bring their forex [foreign exchange] here. Even if the mining companies were externalizing profit, our kwacha was going to be very strong, but we were going to have the guarantee because then, ZRA were going to be monitoring properly how much money is coming in.”

And Dr Haabazoka said contrary to popular belief, President Lungu held a lot of press conferences, but in unconventional places like airports.

“There is an increase in false information, but that false information is as a result of a vacuum that has been created in the economy and because at some point, people have issued conflicting statements, they would want to hear certain things, not from big brothers in the family, but from the head of that family. It’s very important for the President to hold press briefings, actually he normally holds them. But he holds them in places where you don’t expect them, [for example] at the airport, when he is unveiling something or swearing-in people. But I think, even with our interaction with investors in Zambia, they say, ‘we need to hear it from a press conference’ so that everybody starts singing the same song within government. So, as EAZ, that’s our advice. We need a press conference, but we cannot appear to force because [if we] start forcing then it will never come,” Dr Haabazoka said, who also observed that construction projects in Zambia were still expensive because the tender system was poor.

Meanwhile, Dr Haabazoka, who is also UNZA Graduate School of Business director, said those labelling him a puppet of the PF did not know him well.

“I think people who call me a puppet just knew me from 27th July, this year, when I was elected as EAZ president. CBU is also owned by the Zambian government and when HH was arrested in 2017, I wrote an article, it came out in The Mast newspaper under the tittle: ‘do not fight those who cannot fight back.’ That article was in defence of HH. Imagine, I was a manager at the Copperbelt University then and I could have been fired just by the stroke of a whip. But I spoke against that and there was no police that visited me, nobody spoke against because I was objective…people probably want EAZ to become an opposition political party, but we are a professional body and why we differ from LAZ or ZICA is that us we deal with the economy and for us we are careful because there are certain things we cannot say,” said Haabazoka.

11 COMMENTS

  1. This Habazoka , is just another idiot. Don’t pay attention, with your name , you think LUNGU, will notice you? What a waste of time. You will be flashed like dood in the toilet.

  2. It is sad to have people like habazoka in society who do not know that the president is a solutions to everything missing or created wrongly he is voted in to correct what ever things going wrong if not that why is the president voted in to go and have a comfort stay in State House and use Tax payer with out giving hope to people? Shame on you you started the race well but your end is devastating wake upw and check your mind

  3. This man is a fool with his qualifications…Lungu promised 1000 000 jobs including the reopening of Mulungushi textiles. How many has he created? If he can further describe the hallucinations Lungu makes at airports as press’s conferences…..then a visit to Chainama can do him well before he reaches levels of undressing in public as no one is interested in seeing his manhood. Haabozoka is a clear manifestation of the educated in Zambia who ignore facts for a few pieces of silver…..in the same class with Dr Banda

  4. This man is a disgrace to the entire body of economists….Lungu promised 1million jobs including the reopening of Mulungushi textiles when he knew that he lacks capacity to create even 2000 jobs. If indeed Haabozoka has conviction in Lungu then a visit to Chainama would do him & his family well before he reaches levels of undressing in public as no one is interested in seeing his manhood.If he calls those utterances by Lungu at airports to clapping cadres as press conferences then he is truly an imbecile. I wonder what he reaches his students

  5. This man is a disgrace to the entire body of economists….Lungu promised 1million jobs including the reopening of Mulungushi textiles when he knew that he lacks capacity to create even 2000 jobs. If indeed Haabozoka has conviction in Lungu then a visit to Chainama would do him & his family well before he reaches levels of undressing in public as no one is interested in seeing his manhood.If he calls those utterances by Lungu at airports to clapping cadres as press conferences then he is truly an imbecile. I wonder what he teaches his students

  6. But why are defending Lungu. Lungu is a problem. Time of mwanawasa, We started seeing light because he appointed a powerful team to run the country and he decided to fight corruption

    He also gave an opportunity to Zambians to be given first priority as suppliers in the mines and Government institutions.

    Take a look at roads, who are merger contractors? It’s the foreigners. Mwanawasa decided to started building capacity in Zambian contractors in road constructions. Those are some of the reasons why we are blaming Lungu for bad performance of the economy.Therefore Doc, you can only give opinions but Don’t defend Lungu. He is a culprit. You can’t have kaponias in cabinet and expect them to perform.

  7. Is Dr Haabazoka a PF spokesman? I thought he was a chairman of the EAZ an independent think tank that analyses the Zambian economy objectively.

    I am surprised that this Lozi-Tonga chap has become a vuvuzela for ECL.

  8. The nation can do with an EAZ President who is patriotic, objective and cares about the suffering Zambian masses. It is clear that this Haabazoka is using the position as a spring board for a political appointment. Sorry you are jumping on a sinking boat. Please save yourself from soiling your hands.

  9. I do agree with Dr Habazoka , those who auctioned our jobs now are blaming the innocent person who didn’t participate in plundering the economy . We all know where HH got that wealth he brags about , I do not see any hand of Lungu in this un employees fiasco.
    We who lived during privatization saw the suffering of zambians where HH was heavily gaining wealth which he cannot account for, today he is a champion to the un learned or babies

  10. There goes another pf idiot blaming HH for Lungu’s failures. Was it HH who promised 1million jobs? Was it HH who advised Lungu to embark upon this careless borrowing from China?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here