Chief Government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili has advised opposition leaders against attempting to mislead Zambians through unjustified propaganda on the depreciation of the Kwacha and the electricity power deficit.
Mr Kambwili said in Lusaka yesterday that United Party for National Development (UPND) and Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) leaders’ scathing propaganda attacks against Government are calculated at misleading Zambians.
Speaking when he featured on `Let the people talk’ programme on Radio Phoenix, Mr Kambwili said it is not because of Government’s inadequacies that the Kwacha has depreciated, but is as a result of a slump in copper prices on the international market which Zambia has no control over.
“Some opposition leaders are trying to use the poor economic performance to gain political mileage. This is time to sympathise with the Government because what is happening affects all people and is not of Government making,” he said.
Mr Kambwili, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said however, that Government has taken measures to diversify the economy to reduce dependence on copper and to attract more investment into the country.
He explained that plans that Government has put in place will take time to materialise.
“The Kalumbila Mine was initiated in 2005 and a lot of processes took place to reach the opening of the mine. President Lungu only came to open it this year after 11 years when the idea was first developed,” Mr Kambwili said.
The minister also noted that there are many achievements that the Patriotic Front (PF) administration has scored since forming Government in 2011.
Mr Kambwili said Government has constructed and upgraded hospitals augmented by construction of corresponding health training institutions to address the challenge of human resource in selected districts.
On the power deficit, the minister said Government is upgrading the Ndola Energy power plant from 50 megawatts (MW) to 100 MW.
“Government through Zesco will be signing an agreement with Ndola Energy this October for the procurement of power,” Mr Kambwili said.
The minister also said China Nonferrous Metal Mining Corporation Luanshya Copper Mines (CLM) should pay the workers full salaries until copper prices stabilise on the international market.
The minister said it is unfair for CLM to keep workers without pay while the mine is on care and maintenance.
“When an employee is put on recess because the company is failing to meet certain obligations, it is wrong on the part of the company to tamper with the conditions of service for workers which are already agreed upon,” Mr Kambwili said.
He urged CLM to honour the collective agreement which the mining company signed with the unions and that procedure should be followed in an event of some changes.
Mr Kambwili wondered why CLM has taken a stance of not paying workers when Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), which has put 129 workers on recess, is still paying the workers.
In the road sector, the minister said Government has so far constructed over 4,000 kilometres of roads country-wide under various projects and programmes.
Mr Kambwili also said Government is upgrading township roads in all the provinces to bituminous standards under the urban road rehabilitation project.
“In the education sector, we have continued with the recruitment of teachers. This year, 5,000 teachers will be recruited and the same number for next year,” he said.
And Mr Kambwili said the national day of repentance, prayer and fasting is a call for all people to seek the face of God to intervene in the governance of the country.
“You cannot say that you have declared a day of repentance, prayer and fasting when other activities are taking place and we are not commanding anyone, but merely requesting that during the period of prayer and fasting, bar owners and other institutions of entertainment nature should remain closed to 18:00 hours,” Mr Kambwili said.