Patriots for Economic Progress leader, Sean Tembo, says the Cabinet reshuffle done by President Hakainde Hichilema is superficial and meaningless.
On Monday, Hichilema made changes to his Cabinet, barely hours after holding a meeting at State House by dismissing Information and Media Minister, Chushi Kasanda, and replacing her with Choma Central Member of Parliament, Cornelius Mweetwa.
Tembo in a statement issued in Lusaka on Wednesday said the reshuffles were unresponsive to the needs of the Zambian people because they do not address the underperforming Ministries of Finance and Agriculture.
He said the President was not listening to the cries of Zambians on the cost of living by only reshuffling the Ministry of Information and Media while excluding the other two biggest non-performing Ministries.
“The Ministry of Finance has failed to grow the economy. It has failed to create employment. It has failed to stabilize key variables such as the exchange rate, inflation, prices of key production inputs such as fuel,” Tembo said.
He also said the Ministry of Agriculture was the second most chaotic and under-performing Ministry in Zambia.
Tembo alleged that in the past two farming seasons, the United Party for National Development ((UPND) has consistently failed to deliver farming inputs on time or in the right quantities or in some cases at all
“But perhaps it is not the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture which have been underperforming, but President Hakainde Hichilema himself.
In which case, it is the duty of the Zambian people to reshuffle Mr. Hakainde Hichilema out of State House in 2026,” he said.
Tembo said the Ministry of Finance had failed to put a stop on over-borrowing, resulting in foreign debt growing from around $11 billion in 2021 to the current almost $15 billion, and domestic debt from around K96 billion in 2021 to the current almost K207 billion.
monthly withholding tax collections from the mines from an average of $400 million in 2021 to a paltry $80 million at the moment.
“This was because of its funny policies such as tax holidays and the swap deal of withholding tax for dividends made in 2022 with First Quantum Minerals, which was one of the major contributors of withholding tax among the mines,” Tembo said.
He further alleged that the Ministry had almost doubled the cost of living in the past two years, according to the Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection basic foods basket index, which had moved from around K5,000 for a family of six in 2021 to about K9,400 in 2023.
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