Press Release

 

ZUFIAW EXPECTS MWANAKATWE TO REDUCE INTEREST RATES
THE ZAMBIA UNION OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND ALLIED WORKERS – ZUFIAW PRESIDENT, MR. ACKIM MWEEMBA HAS WELCOMED THE MOVE BY THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT TO APPOINT HONOURABLE MARGRET MWANAKATWE AS NEW MINISTER OF FINANCE. ONCE AGAIN, THE PRESIDENT HAS DEMONSTRATED THE DESIRE TO ASSIGN WOMEN TO SENIOR POSITIONS IN GOVERNMENT AS WE ASPIRE TO BE A MIDDLE-INCOME NATION BY YEAR 2030. WE ARE ALIVE TO THE FACT THAT HONOURABLE MWANAKATWE HAS NOT JUST BEEN APPOINTED BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN BUT BECAUSE OF HER IMMENSE EXPERIENCE IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR.
HOWEVER, WE NOTE THAT SHE IS TAKING OVER THE MANTLE OF THE MINISTRY AT A TIME WHEN WORKERS ARE BADLY HIT BY HIGH TAXES, AS A LABOUR MOVEMENT, OUR ADVOCACY IN THIS AREA HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT NO NATION HAS EVER DEVELOPED WITH ITS CITIZENS SUFFOCATED WITH HIGH TAXES. THE CITIZENS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GIVEN LATITUDE TO SPEND TO STIMULATE ACTIVITIES IN THE ECONOMY. OUR EXPECTATIONS THEREFORE, ARE THAT WITH HER COMING IN THE MINISTRY, THE GOVERNMENT WILL SERIOUSLY RELOOK AT THE ISSUE OF HIGH TAXES IN THE COUNTRY TO ALLEVIATE THE DIFFICULTIES THE WORKERS ARE CURRENTLY GOING THROUGH BY WIDENING THE TAX BASE AS OPPOSED TO MILKING TO THE BONE THOSE WORKERS IN THE FORMAL SECTOR. SHE SHOULD ALSO ENSURE THE DIVERSIFICATION AGENDA BECOMES A REALITY ESPECIALLY IN AGRICULTURE WHERE ZAMBIA HAS GREAT POTENTIAL.
ADDITIONALLY, HONOURABLE MWANAKATWE COMES FROM THE BANKING SECTOR WHICH IS A VERY CRITICAL PLAYER IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THIS COUNTRY, HOWEVER, FOR A LONG TIME NOW, THE BANKING INDUSTRY IN THIS COUNTRY HAS NOT LIVED UP TO EXPECTATIONS IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY. THE ECONOMIC FUNDAMENTALS SHOW THAT THEY ARE RELATIVELY STABLE AS SEEN FROM THE CENTRAL BANK’S 2017 INTERVENTIONS IN TERMS OF REDUCING THE MONETARY POLICY RATE, THE STATUTORY RESERVE RATIOS, THE OVERNIGHT INTERBANK LENDING RATE, CURBING THE VOLATILITY OF THE EXCHANGE RATE AND CONTAINING THE INFLATION RATE TO A SINGLE DIGIT.
OUR MAJOR CONCERN IS THAT DESPITE THE ABOVE DEVELOPMENTS, THE INTEREST RATES HAVE STUBBORNLY REMAINED HIGH. WE WONDER WHETHER COMMERCIAL BANKS ARE COLLUDING IN THIS AREA OR THERE ARE ISSUES OTHER THAN THE ONES OUTLINED ABOVE WHICH ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HIGH INTEREST RATES IN BANKING SECTOR. AS A LABOUR MOVEMENT, OUR STRONG BELIEF IS THAT HAVING BEEN AT THE HELM OF ONE OF THE MULTINATIONAL BANKS WHICH ARE REAPING HUGE PROFITS IN THE COUNTRY, SHE WILL NOW USE HER EXPERTISE TO ADDRESS THE DRIVERS OF THESE INTEREST RATES FOR THE BETTERMENT OF THE NATION. IT MUST BE BORN IN MIND THAT THE HIGH INTEREST RATES CROUD OUT THE PRIVATE SECTOR THUS LIMITING EXPANSION OF THE ECONOMY.
FURTHER, WE CALL FOR URGENT MEASURES IN SOUND PUBLIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR IT IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN ACHIEVE LONG TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF PUBLIC SECTORS AND ENSURING POVERTY REDUCTION IN OUR COUNTRY.
RELEASED BY,
ACKIM MWEEMBA
PRESIDENT- ZUFIAW (20TH FEBRUARY,2018)
+260 976 800 274

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