By Fulman Mukobeko.
Movement for National Transformation(MNT) leader Daniel Mvula Shimunza has promised to transform Zambia from third to first world economy once his party forms government.
Appearing on Pan African Radio News feedback program anchored by Caesar Sindele, Mr Shimunza said what Zambia needs right now is an industrialized and advanced economy.
Mr Shimunza expressed concern that what Zambia has is a transactional kind of economy which has led to a lot of debts through what he termed crisis management.
He said the United States of America is a strong economy because when that country got independence in 1776, her vision was to become a sovereign separate State equal and stationed among the strong nations on Earth.
“…because that was their vision, America is a power. But in our case, when we got our independence, we never sat down to craft how our economy would be. We are in the situation where we are operating crisis management. 53 years after independence, we are doing what is known as transactional leadership, where you get transactions, sign deals and cheques. We are not at a level of being pragmatic to do long term plans,” Mr Shimunza said.
He added: “Imagine if we had sat down 53 years ago and said we want Zambia to be a first world country with an advanced and industrialized economy,looking at our geographical location, We could have said let us make the Lusaka Stock Exchange(LuSE) a biggest investment centre in Africa but we did not do that. As a people we have evolved what I call crisis management and crisis management is what has led to these alarming debts the country has accrued. So we need to change the policy direction, ” the opposition leader said.
He said his party will re-craft Zambia and have a transformed agenda.
Mr Shimunza said the transformation his party is talking about is not one that is copied from successful countries.
“For us, as Movement for National Transformation, our policy direction is first world economy. So we will have to craft our policy that will be a departure from what has been happening in the past. Our policy direction will be fundamental and since it is first world, it must be an advanced and industralised economy, and not a developing or relatively developing economy,” he said, adding that to achieve this, MNT will build internal capacity as opposed to depending on donor handouts.
Mr Shimunza said third world countries’ policies are dependent on borrowing, saying this is why Zambia has accumulated a lot of external debts which will be rather difficult to service if the country does not come up with good solutions.
Mr Shimunza said while every Government borrows, it is important that the accrued debt is not used for consumption but for investment in the productive sector of the economy.
“We advocate for an advanced and industrialized economy. In ward looking policies to outward looking police,” he stated.