Friday, August 15, 2008

Everything Must Change

Everything Must Change

By Amb. Mbita Chitala PhD

What should be done, to, in all seriousness begin tackling the challenge of eradicating poverty, underdevelopment and backwardness in our country? This article is addressed to citizens who want to offer leadership to our nation as the second term of the New Deal administration comes to an end in 2011.

The Challenge
The goal of any macro-economic strategy of any serious country particularly those such as ours is to improve the standard of living of its people. These goals include reducing poverty, preventing excessive inequality and generating adequate employment opportunities. These should be the goals of all patriots, more so, our political leaders.

Our country continues to suffer unacceptable underdevelopment levels. Over 67% of our people live below an adult poverty datum line of about K92,186 per month according to the CSO study LCMS published in 2004. 74% of our rural people live below the extreme poverty line as is 52% in urban areas. The result is that many of our people live in destitution. Poverty is so severe that many families are forced to hardly eat any food, keep their children out of school, get involved in casual labour where they are inhumanly exploited or get involved in such vices as robberies, extortion, prostitution – all things and anything to make them survive. Many of them live lives where they hover between suicide and insanity. These countrymen are the target of any good macro economic strategy, to be lifted to a state of humanity.

Investment and inflation
The starting point for a sustainable development project is the ability to raise investment income and smartly expend the resource in such a way that there is growth in the country. Of course there is need for a country to ensure that there is fiscal sustainability and macro economic stability, but these objectives cannot be the only objectives as the Breton institutions with their neo liberal ideology have forced Minister Magande and his group to believe. The view held by the IMF/IBRD and regurgitated by our own neo liberals together with our bureaucrats at Bank of Zambia that our economic policies must be solely anchored on fighting inflation, is an attempt to thwart any of our development efforts.

The economic effort at high cost being exerted by the BOZ and the Ministry of Finance to reduce inflation to single digit levels is totally unnecessary and must be reconsidered. The literature shows that moderate inflation in the 10-40% range hardly generates any economic costs. In fact, moderate inflation helps sustain economic growth. The idea of using the inflation targeting regime (ITR) in our country is misplaced for many reasons which were adequately highlighted by one Munachinga’s (2004) and UNDP (2006). The solution is for Zambia to adopt a strategy that address the cause of inflation, to address key supply constraints such as electicity, roads, bridges, agricultural development, food storage and marketing, and other infrastructure instead of the harsh and misguided single digit inflation targeting (disinflation program).

Independence of BOZ
Then there is this misguided notion that the Bank of Zambia must be made independent. Independence from what? The literature all over the world has not demonstrated that independence brings benefits in terms of inflation performance, growth, volatility and so on. The BOZ, like all other social institutions, needs to accommodate many different social interests rather than to be a state within a state. At any rate, this drive to make all institutions independent from politicians is an attempt to weaken our young states so that imperialism can continue to control our countries. If this independence is good, why is it not so in their own countries, these so called donors? It is unacceptable in a democracy to cede power to those who are not elected. This is why our BOZ has failed to address the issue of interest rates. The country has cried that while the Bank rate has dropped from 51.5% in 1995 to 10.7% in 2006, the lending rate has marginally dropped from 66.7% to 37.1% while the savings deposit rates have scandalously dropped from 30.6% in 1995 to a meager 5.6% in 2006. This has largely been because of the absence of political leadership. Our capacity to save and invest has adversely suffered because of this unworkable belief in market forces and moralsuasion. The foreign banks that constitute a cartel will never accede to peoples demands unless there is political intervention. Section 5, part 11 of the Bank of Zambia Act (1996) as well as part 111 and VII which subordinate the BOZ to the elected government of the day is as it should be.

Financial System
Our country’s financial sector continues to play a limited role in our economy and yet it is supposed to be the driving force. The problem of the sector include lack of financial intermediation, low market liquidity, high interest rates, high bank costs, absence of long-term lending, undeveloped secondary market and low public confidence and low access to financial services where only about 18% of Zambians have access to banks.

Currently, the financial system continues to drain public funds but has failed to channel these resources to development projects other than to speculation and government instruments. The view that many Zambians have no security to support loans is insufficient because the view ignores our environment. This setback appears to be uniresolvable as the Banks have remained adamant on this since 1991. It requires smart strategies by the government to ensure that investment capital is provided to the productive sector especially agriculture, manufacturing, housing and infrastructure. Credit flows can be fostered through the usual tax rebates, loan insurance by the state, reduction of compulsory reserve requirements and directing them to investment compulsorily.

A Grave Mistake
One grave limitation to the achievement of insuring that credit gets to the productive sector of our country is that Zambia does not have competitive state owned banks which can be used to address these limitations as is the case in all serious countries that seriously addressed underdevelopment. Our government naively sold our last state bank ZANACO to foreign interests and closed the door which the state could have used to not only break the cartel of foreign banks but also provide a mechanism for subsidized lending to the productive sector if need be. The country is now dominated by foreign banks. We all know the object of international finance capital. Because of cartelization, our interest rates will be forever unaffordable by Zambian entrepreneurs. Zambia has no tool, no bank to compete with these multinationals in pricing money as was the case when ZANACO could be used then. So, we are unable to limit the bias of these foreign banks to satisfy the needs of our people. It is important that a new state bank is founded or ZANACO re-purchased.

There is also need to strengthen the secondary market by instituting measures that could allow rediscounting of bonds, create venture capital funds, insure that all mining companies list at least 25% of their shares on LUSE as opposed to merely quoting as is the case now. This error of commission dubiously committed by our negotiators with the mining companies in the so called development agreements has meant a continued non benefiting/participation of our people in the mines. Those in leadership should insist that this changes and the mining companies must be required immediately to list on LUSE a minimum of 25% of their stock to be acquired by Zambians as was the initial intention of privatization.

Public Expenditure
The manner and composition of our public expenditure needs to be changed. Some people want our country to be condemned to balanced budgets. Since 1978 when the IMF signed the first standby agreement with us and the World Bank advanced us a programme loan in response to the fall in copper prices, Zambia stopped investing in infrastructure. We became over-dependent on these institutions to the extent they forced us to cut on productive investments. Their conditionalities manifested as SAP programs ending with the current PRGF has resulted in Zambia denationalizing itself. Instead of using the parastals to create our own middle class, we sold them to foreign capital reversing all the gains that independence had given us. This tragedy must be reversed.

Starting with our public expenditure, the situation where we use more than 60% of tax revenues to pay salaries for about 190,000 public sector employees and state administration and another 20% of the budget for public debt service and constitutional expenditure and where only about 20% is available for capital investment must be changed. This composition of public expenditure where more than 80% of the budget is spent on consumption does not allow us to accumulate investable surpluses for expanded reproduction and poverty eradication. It is important that this pattern of expenditure is revisited. Our budget must be used to generate demand, expand capacity and finance development even if the public deficit increases in the short term.

The IMF conditionality that we should limit our fiscal deficit to 0.6% of our discretionary budget is wrong. No country that is developed ever did this. We must change our expenditure composition and increase the share budget to growth sectors. We must increase the efficiency and criminise failure to expend as budgeted. We must improve public finance management, eliminate ghost workers and ensure that budget planning is harmonized with its execution.

Need for a Developmental State
Because we know that, and Dr Kaunda used to emphasize, copper is a wasting asset, we must diversify our trading pattern. This will require investment in manufacturing- mineral processing, spare parts manufacturing, maintenance, housing, transport, communications, consumables, energy and so on. How can we fund these investments? In different ways including diversification by the exporters, transfers through the financial system, state investment, receipts from copper and cobalt as well as smart use of our pension funds. It is not clever to keep hoping that the private capitalists from abroad will invest in our infrastructure when they have not done so in their home countries. This responsibility is for the state, particularly so in our case who want to catch up. We should learn from China and the tigers of the east. There is no substitute to ending our underdevelopment than engaging in an extensive public works program. This is what the New Deal in America was all about. This is what happened in Europe after the war in 1945 and to the Asian Tigers. Our state must be transformed from being a consumptionist state to a developmental state.

Suffocating Development Agreements
For Zambia, it is advisable to review the whole copper/cobalt and gemstone mining policies that unfairly allow for unfettered pillage by foreigners at our expense. This kindness where you let your resources to be taken away with little benefit to Zambia is not only unfair but tells a lot about what type of people we are. This resource nationalism must come back. For instance, in 2006, total exports of copper from Zambia was about 500,000 MT. Copper sold at an average price of US$8,000 per tone that year which should have given us a gross revenue of about US$4 billion. If we take the break-even point of copper production in Zambia at US$1,000 per tone, the cost of production would be about US$1 billion living a cool profit of US$3 billion on which Zambia could have taxed the producers at the normal 35% and earn the country US$1.4 billion in terms of corporate tax. Instead, IMF records show that only 462,100 MT of copper was sold at unit value of 6.2 cents per pound which earned the mining companies US$ 2,938 million and Zambia got zero from this in terms of corporate tax as the mining companies were allowed to carry over losses, however fictitious. The suffocating development agreement for instance gave several unnecessary incentives to mining companies that bought our ZCCM for almost nothing. KCM and MOPANI were in 2000 allowed to pay a paltry 0.6 per cent as royalties, 25% corporate tax, 100% provision for capital investment deductions, 0% excise duty on power, refund of net input VAT, allowed to retain 100% of foreign exchange in their offshore accounts, 0% withholding tax on dividends, and allowed a stabilization period of 20 years at which the mining companies assumed our copper would be exhausted. What clever charity! For NFC Africa limited and Chambishi Metals, almost similar conditions were given except corporate tax was raised to the normal 35%, and the stability period reduced to 15 years.

It is obvious that we should re negotiate these oppressive agreements with a view of Zambia getting a fair share from our God given resource. The resource nationalism coming out of Venezuela offers a good lesson to poor countries like ourselves. We should encourage our ZCCM(IH) to be more assertive in the mines where they are shareholders and drive to become the principle shareholders. It is embarrassing that our company has never demanded for dividends in the mining companies they hold stock.

We should level the tax take to enable our own entrepreneurs to compete for business. We should end the culture of secrecy

As of 1st April, 2008, there have been some improvements but Zambia still continues not to benefit from its strategic resource as it should. The corporate tax rate was raised from 25% to 30% while for all other companies it is 35% - mining companies still continue to enjoy several wear and tear allowances and tax holidays under the ZDA terms of 0%. Mineral royalty has been raised to 3% for base metals, 5% for precious stones, 2% for industrial minerals and 2% for gemstones. These rates if compared to a country like Ghana where the royalty on Gold is 10% makes us look like jokers. Furthermore, the mining companies continue to enjoy VAT concessions under the deferment scheme on capital goods. With respect to mineral royalty, the minister of finance has power to exempt companies from paying any royalty. This discretionary power is of course unnecessary as it can easily be abused and should therefore be scraped off.

With respect to cobalt, Zambia continues to be cheated by foreign companies. There are no longer available published production statistics which can be believed. In 1978/9, we produced 4,480 metric tonnes of cobalt or US$ 498 million at today’s cobalt prices. This year 2008, cobalt production was reported to be at 1,895 tonnes which allegedly yielded US$210 million. At the same time, there was a production of 64,000 tonnes of copper (US$ 480 million) not accounted for a production of 216,000 tonnes (US$1.62 billion) to May, 2008. This was most likely exported as copper concentrates containing a vas amount of cobalt. Observers noted that if the 64,000 tonnnes of copper concentrate contained 10% cobalt concentrate mass at 35% cobalt, you would have 2,240 tonnes (US$249 million) of cobalt cash exported as low value copper. These blatant pillage of our natural resources continues to plague Zambia. This was as a result of our badly thought idea of selling our mines for a song – KCM sold at about US$25 million to an Indian multinational when the stock was valued at more than US$2.5 billion per mine when our ZCCM was charge. History will certainly judge us harshly.

It is important that Zambia redresses this plunder of our natural resources if we are serious in attempting to end our poverty and underdevelopment. The good lord was kind to give us this copper and cobalt as he was kind to give the Arabs petroleum. The challenge is not to work hard, but to be smart and ensure that the metals benefit us.

It would be advisable to declare copper, cobalt and emeralds strategic metals for Zambia and provide a protective environment in the same way Botswana, Namibia and South Africa have done for their diamonds and Gold. We must ban completely not through token taxation as is now the case, the export of copper concentrates. We must work towards establishing our own metal marketing state company – our MEMACO – to co-ordinate all metal sales. We must force the mining companies to list on LUSE to enable Zambians to participate in the benefits from their minerals consistent with the development agreement. We must insure that all sales proceeds of all minerals are first credited in Bank of Zambia accounts as is the case in most countries and the companies are paid what is really their earnings. It is advisable that our country introduces a Resource Rent tax or variable income tax to secure additional mineral rents.

Current tax regime
In the letter of intent signed by Mr. Peter Ngandu Magande and dated May, 7, 2008, Mr Magande promised the IMF that “ a windfall and variable profit tax will not apply at the same time, and that all mining revenue above K722 billion will be saved in a Mining Resource Account at BOZ to be used as a stabilization fund to smoothen expenditure over time.” This advice by the IMF is of course faulty. It is designed to prevent our country from investing its earnings in growth which will make us free from their control. This conspiracy must be stopped. National states are not like private companies whose sole aim is to make profits for their shareholders. The states role is to provide public goods to its citizens. Mr. Magande and the IMF want to keep our investable funds sterilized in a Bank account and wait for a day when their will problems in the copper industry to use the money. This is wrong. A more desirable policy may be to create a copper Stabilization and Development Trust financed by these surpluses and a permanent export levy. Such a Trust could be a new superintended by our parliament or a professional company such as our ZCCM (IH) which can be delegated with the task of working towards long –term stabilization of the mining industry including the promotion of development diversification in the whole country. The Magande proposal of sterilizing the extra earnings from our copper revenue at BOZ is a retrogressive policy which is anti Zambia.

Growth strategy for Zambia
It is common knowledge that no country can or has ever developed based on donor aid. In fact, Africa’s experience is that Structural adjustment policies (SAPs) have tended de-industrialize our countries, weaken our institutions and destroyed heir capacities to serve the people efficiently and effectively. SAPS also failed to enable us diversify our exports. Our experience with import substitution industrialization policies and export led growth taught us that we need to bring industrial policy back and ensure that our governments are developmental.

If Zambia wants to reduce poverty over the short term, we must devise a purposeful integrated growth strategy that fosters an efficient manufacturing sector. Since we do not have a private sector worth talking about, Public investment by the state must be the key instrument in such a strategy.

The current government policies advanced Fifth National Development Plan (2006-10) which is seen as Zambia’s PRSP places agriculture, tourism and mining as priority sectors. Yes, rejuvenating the mining sector as a source of foreign exchange and public revenue as well as the advancement of policies to foster an internationally competitive agricultural sector are major policies but not the central policies. The same is true for tourism. If Zambia used agriculture as the basis of development, we would fail to eradicate poverty. There is no country on earth with a successful growth strategy based on agriculture, why? Because, peasant agriculture is inherently inefficient and can never be competitive. An agriculture-led growth would imply rising unemployment as productivity grew. Similarly, copper is a wasting asset and it will soon be exhausted. As for Tourism, it is really neither here nor there as it is a service industry and competition will always be high globally.

The appropriate strategy to eradicate poverty and backwardness is to rejuvenate the manufacturing sector – that is the only sector where value is created. If Zambia continues to follow as suggested by SAP ideologists, a non-interventionist approach, ignoring industrial policy aimed at processing competitive goods and services in Zambia, our country will forever be a hostage to global price shocks and the uncertainty of the climate.

It is obvious that Zambia will not be able to finance all aspects and achieve the MDGs. At the level of per capital growth of about 7% per annum, the MDG deficit is about negative 14.6% of GDP. To cover this, many ideas are available which our government can utilize including the idea of citizen economic empowerment and the intensive use of our locally available resources and Funds without even subjecting ourselves to embarrassing begging or contracting external debt.

Citizen Empowerment
The idea of citizen empowerment which the initial promoters who included myself appears to have been changed by the citizens currently managing the process. The initial idea by the framers of the law was to fill the void which had been created by the thoughtless privatization that had destroyed our national bourgeoisie represented by our parastatal corporations like ZIMCO, INDECO and ZCCM, ZANACO among othersr. The privatization fiasco not only killed our nascent middle class, the whole spirit of nationalism and patriotism was relegated to something embarrassing as neo-liberal ideas took over our consciousness. It was because of this tragedy that some Zambian patriots realized the historical inevitability to re-establishing an indigenous Zambian middle class on which our capitalism /development would be anchored. This dream required our government facilitating the creation of Zambian capitalists who would in due time grow to creatively begin to compete in the international division of labour.

After creating the empowerment commision, the managers who were appointed to manage the institution introduced a naïve ideology of broad-based empowerment driven by some egalitarian notion of equity on which they want to make every Zambian have access to these empowerment funds and join the middle class. In 2008, out of the K130 billion given to them by parliament, they have allocated K10 billion to each of the provinces of Zambia and are in the process of establishing a bureaucracy countrywide. They have become our new utopian socialists who wants to spread this investment resource to every Zambian. They do not realize that doing so will result in spreading the resource so thinly that there will be nothing to show for. Our country has been through this route particularly with the Credit Organization of Zambia which died as the people refused to pay back the loans because of the unfeasibility of the program. This scandalous wastage must be stopped and be replaced by a program stopping the creation of another monstrous bureaucracy by using professional fund managers and also insuring that the funds are not spread too thinly.

In addition to taxes/levies from our minerals, Zambia has to devise a smart way of utilizing its pension funds. Pension and insurance funds hold about 25% of the assets of the financial system. The National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) alone holds about 22% or about 10% of GDP. In real money, NAPSA in 20096 made K465 billion total income. Out of this, they spent K96.1 billion mostly on recurrent expenses and only K4 billion was invested as capital expenditure. In the year they accumulated funds of K1,494 billion. This was money belonging to the 449,167 contributors. The tragedy is that our government has never considered this resource as potential investment finance and has never provided policy direction on how to utilize this resource. Because of this, NAPSA and the other pension schemes hold investable resources in their current accounts or investe them in government securities. In the letter of intent signed by Mr. Magande to the IMF, Magande did not mention or promise to provide a regulatory arrangement for NAPSA. And yet, pension funds and insurance companies are the major contractual savings institutions and the main source of long-term finance which Zambia can use to finance almost all our development needs.

One sector which our objective of eradication of poverty and underdevelopment is bound to fail if not urgently addressed is the generation, transmission and supply of electricity to Zambia. We cannot use our surplus earnings from our mineral exports and pension funds to develop manufacturing or new greenhouse projects without power. This error of commission by our government will haunt us for a long time. True, the IMF and World Bank are largely responsible for our failure to invest in the energy sector after 1978 because of their conditionalities, we are however our own enemies because we gave up on our nationalism.

Currently, our country has installed capacity for electricity power generation of 1,700 MW. However,there is only about 1,200 – 1,300 MW available which is largely because of prolonged neglect of maintenance. Kariba North bank which was a separate company was despite advice, swallowed by the insolvent ZESCO and the inefficiencies of ZESCO undermined the capacity of this once efficient power generating station. The current peak demand is about 1,400 – 1,500 MW. The country continues to suffer load shedding with very little hope that things will improve to take care of additional demand .

Presently, ZESCO has exclusive rights to electricity generation (accounting for over 90% of generating capacity) transmission and distribution serve the CEC which provides power to the copper mines. ZESCO’s transmission and distribution losses are colossal due to aging infrastructure and vandalism. In 2006, it lost more than 322 thousand megawatt-hour which was a rise from the 2005 figure of 264 megawatt-hours. The company is also beset by inefficiencies and high costs. Its net operating income has been in the negative for many years. In 2004, about 94.1% of operating income according to Mwenechanya (2005) were operating expenses. Its trade receivables average 80 – 90% of turnover. Its stuffing costs were extremely high at more than 60% of total operating expenses which showed that there was gross inefficiency of the entity. It has continued to accumulate tax arrears to ZRA as well as pension arrears for its workers which makes the company liable as a violator of basic social rights. Its commercialization has not helped the company in any way, apart from the fact that it has deepened its difficulties by involving itself in investing in projects totally alien to its line of activities. For instance, it has invested more than US$60 million in a fiber optics projects even though it could have cooperated with Zamtel inworking jointly to use the Zamtel fiber optics infrastructure. This duplication of effort was not only unnecessary but was probably a subject of abuse of office.

Furthermore, ZESCO has gone to implement a joint venture to assemble meters and transformers with an Egyptian company where it will itself guarantee the market. This naturally raises probity issues as Zesco is tying itself to a technology where it may not be able to extradict itself if the technology proved wanting. The reasonable stance should persuade ZESCO to exit from this compromising association and reclaim the position where it could buy meters and transformers from the market on tender.

Our country has generally a huge hydropower potential not to mention the possibilities of thermal power stations to use coal from Maamba colliery as well as venturing to make a nuclear power station as South Africa is doing. For both of these, the technogy is available and relatively cheap. Furthermore,it is possible to generate over 6,000 MW within three years from Itezhi Tezhi (120 MW) Kariba North Expansion (360 MW) and others. For these three projects, it is estimated that we would need funding of about US$1.5 billion. The Tata of India have shown interest to develop Itezhi Tezhi while Sino Hydro Electric of China showed interest in Kariba North Bank. For the last several years we are still disadvantaged by conditionalities of the World Bank who have been demanding environmental impact assessment studies of one kind or another to access their funding. This may never materialize as they always change goalpsts any time a study is done.

Our government’s policy is rather misplaced. The 1994 National Energy Policy was based on two objectives, namely; affordability of tariffs and provide minimum level of service to persons who are unable to afford the full cost, and; expansion of power generation and distribution by encouraging the private sector, privatizing the distribution function of ZESCO and commercializing ZESCO.

In terms of affordability of tariffs, the government has been rightly sensitive to tariff increases. The promise by Minister Magande in his letter of intent to the IMF that he will review tariffs upward is not only impolitic but insensitive to the political stability of the country. The managers of ZESCO have argued that for full cost recovery, ZESCO requires to increase its tariffs by not less than 48%. It is argued that, countries such as Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda pay 3 to 5 times more than their Zambian counterparts of course such a comparison is not clever as it is not situation specific. What is obvious is that Zambia is currently suffering from the long legal of abundance supply of electricity without re-inverting in the sector. We were prevented to do so by the conditionalities of the Britton Countries. After the demise of the UNIP autocracy, the country has been dominated by right wing policy makers who neglected the developmental role of the state and opted for market forces in spite of obvious market failure.

The mining companies who consume about 50% of total electricity are not subject to regulatory oversight. The CEC in 2004 charged mining companies them 3.0 US cents per Kwh while ZESCO charged CEC 2.1 US cents. At this level, CEC was highly profitable while ZESCO was not. The reasons for this can therefore not be in the tariff structure but must be found elsewhere.

With respect to the other 50%, the rural people get about 2% at a tariff of 2/10 of a percent and rely largely on diesel generators. In 2004, the residential consumers were charged about 1.01 US cents per Kwh while commercial consumers were charges a tariff of 2.6 cents Kwh and non-mining activities were levied and valorem starting at a 3 cent per Kwh to lower tariff if use less than 700 or is unmetered. In all cases, the tariff have been argued to be below cost recovery level. ZESCO has since increased tariffs, but still argues that the tariffs are still low to cover their costs.

The need to generally increase tariffs appear to have economic justification. However, in the set up of Zambia where there is so much poverty and abuses, it is advisable to phase the increase over a long period to lessen the adverse impact on the people, particularly the residential consumers who consume about 70% of electricity outside mining and contribute to 40% of ZESCO income. In fact, the mining companies can easily pay for the deficit or alternatively, the government must continue to subsidize tariffs as electricity is a public good all over the world. It is important that ZESCO re-negotiates its bulk sales agreement to the mining companies with a view of charging them economic tariffs.

It is also of historical necessity that Zambia expands its electricity grid, increase public investment in generation, transmission and distribution. Firstly, the idea that the private sector will invest in power generation is not only being unrealistic but a figment of imagination by some policy makers. Even through the legal framework has been modernized with very generous incentives no serious private sector can invest in Zambia electricity sector, partly because of the low electricity tariffs determined by the ERB rendering the payback period too long and possibility neither here nor there. And partly because ZESCO is still a monopoly and unless it guarantees access to its transmission and distribution network, any private investment would be unviable.

Secondly, ZESCO itself is financially unviable and is incapable of mobilizing resources to expand its operations. ZESCO needs to be restructured and improve its efficiency. The energy Regulations Board in April, 2002 proposed to government the cost-effective restructuring of the electricity market in Zambia.

Out of the four models, vertical integration with independent power producers, partial unbundling of existing utility, wholesale competition model and full retail competition model; they recommended the wholesale competition model which would involve vertical separation of generation, transmission and distribution/supply. The government should look at this again and determine the best cause of action urgently.

What is clear as day is that the government can use some of the excess funds in Mr. Magande’s Mining Resource Account at Bank of Zambia and the more than K2 Trillion held by Pension Funds to start investing in the US$ 1 billion required at the three stations at Kariba, itezhi and Kafue lower.

In three to six year, we should be able to develop those power stations as we encourage others like a revitalized NCZ ( if it will ever be) to develop a thermal power station at Maamba and ask China or Russia or France to assist us build a nuclear power stations using our abundant uranium.

The challenge is leadership which Dr. Kaunda showed at the beginning of our Republic when the government invested in several public goods that made Zambia rank among the richest in Africa.