PF running mate Prof Nkandu Luo today made false aspersions and allegations that a cartel of unnamed people were behind the skyrocketing cost of food and commodities in Zambia.
Her unsubstantiated allegations were made to a group of PF supporters earlier today.
We wish to remind Prof Luo that the Zambian economy has tens thousands of importers, wholesalers and retailers.
How possible is it that a small cartel of people can connive with all these businesses in the supply chain to hike the prices of commodities in unison and conformity with each other?
The causes of hyperinflation in Zambia are well known, and even the experts at Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and indeed the Bank of Zambia acknowledge these causes.
The causes of inflation are outlined below ;
1: A weak kwacha that continues to depreciate has led to increased prices and costs of imported commodities and raw materials for use in manufacturing and production. These price increases are then passed on to consumers by retailers.
2: High fuel and electricity costs coupled with load shedding are a major factor in the increase in production costs.
3: Unnecessary middlemen in the procurement of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and seed have led to artificial increases in the prices of agricultural produce, middlemen that were introduced into the supply chain by the PF government.
4: High levels of corruption and excessive debt that have put a strain on the treasury and the kwacha.
These are the primary reasons why inflation in Zambia stands at 25% today, much higher than the 7% inflation rate that the PF inherited from the MMD.
The Dollar exchange rate now stands at K22.8 as opposed to the exchange rate of K4.5% the PF inherited from the MMD.
It’s these numbers that explain the over 300% increase in commodity prices experienced over the last 6 years.
Thankfully, the UPND Alliance under the leadership of President Hakainde Hichilema has the solutions to these challenges, which include the strengthening of the kwacha through reviving of the mining sector and tourism to increase the inflow of dollars into the country, enhancing local manufacturing and agriculture to increase local produce, reduce on imports and insulate Zambians from the shocks of exchange rate driven inflation, refinancing of the National Debt, cutting out middlemen from procurement of fuel and agricultural inputs and to put an end to load shedding by making durable and cost effective investments in energy.
And a reminder to Prof Luo, if she has evidence of a cartel that is conniving with supermarkets, marketeers, tuntembas and street vendors to fix prices, she should immediately report that cartel to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission whose mandate it is to investigate and sanction such individuals.
UPND ALLIANCE MEDIA