It is difficult for Zambians to appreciate the efforts that the government is making to improve the country’s economy when they are kept in the dark.

Yet, the new dawn administration after taking over the reins of government promised transparency in the management of the country’s affairs.

It is in this vein that we agree with the former Minister of Finance under the MMD regime Mr Peter Magande demanding that Government discloses the so-called inflexible conditions being demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Mr Magande says Finance and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane should disclose the inflexible conditions being demanded by the IMF which have prompted Government to begin negotiating for flexible ones outside major creditors for the fund to release the US$188 million.

Mr Magande noted that the Finance Minister  had announced that Zambia had scored a 100 percent on all the conditions set by the IMF and is wondering why the country was being punished with such a success record in the performance of the economy.

Zambians are indeed baffled as to what these inflexible terms are for as Mr Magande pointed out, Dr Musokotwane last month announced that Zambia had met all the conditions and had passed the IMF test with a 100 percent score but that the country was still not able to access the second distribution of US$188m.

That the details of the discussions with the IMF are shrouded in secrecy is a matter of conern for all Zambians as they are the ones experiencing the harsh economic realities.

They are the ones who have experienced the sharp rise in the standard of living, what with the basic food basket worked out by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection showing that an average family of five needs at least K9, 000 to meet their monthly basic needs.

The  nation is aware that Zambia had received US$185M as the first distribution after reaching the agreement but wonders what it could have been used for as government had not shared the details, said Mr Magande.

Why the secrecy?

Government needs to learn that it should not be operating in isolation, not informing the citizens what it is doing. 

In the absence of information from the government, the citizens are left to speculations, not knowing what is really happening in their country.

The shortage of mealie meal coupled with the high price is one issue that Government has failed lamentably to explain.

Nobody understands what the government’s policy is.  In one breath, it allows for unrestricted exports of mealie meal, then quickly says exports are being curtailed due to the shortage.

This is quickly followed by an announcement that Government would allow GMO mealie meal from South Africa, but not for local consumption but for onward exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo and for border areas.

“Today, we are importing to export. We had been exporting our maize only to import mealie meal. The government is telling us that it is importing for another country. It is not making sense. Who will be selling the mealie meal they will deliver to our boundaries. This is not making sense.” Mr Magande said.

Government must ensure it does not act in isolation but inform citizens what it is doing as democracy entails.

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