, 28 October, 2020 / 9:32 PM
Zambia’s “rapidly weakening economy” is a cause for concern, officials of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) based in the Southern African nation in a recent statement in which they call on the country’s leadership to adopt the transformative servant leadership model.
“JCTR is deeply concerned with the rapidly weakening economy in our country, which is jeopardizing the economic and social justice of the ordinary citizens, especially the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable,” the officials say in their statement signed by JCTR Executive Director, Fr. Alex Muyebe.
Issued on the occasion of Zambia’s independence anniversary October 24, JCTR officials say that it is ironical that Zambians “cannot but lament the current shrinking fiscal space” during the commemoration of the country's 56th independence anniversary.
They make reference to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accrued debt from foreign entities saying, “Zambia’s total external debt stock now stands at US$27 billion dollars, which, literally, is equivalent to the country's GDP. The national debt stock was US$11.97 billion as of June 2020.”
“The fiscal deficit, the inflation rate and the depreciation of the currency are on the rise,” the officials of the Jesuit institution note.
As a way forward, the leadership of Research, Education and Advocacy team that promotes study and action on issues linking Christian Faith and social justice in Zambia and Malawi calls on the government to learn from past experiences and find lasting solutions to the recurring economic crisis.
“This is not the first time Zambia has found herself in a debt crisis. Government must learn from these experiences and come up with a lasting solution to avoid finding ourselves in this same bad place over and over again,” says Fr. Alex says on behalf of JCTR leadership.
JCTR leaders want the Edgar Lungu-led Government to “pursue fiscal consolidation and stop further borrowing.”
“Government must put in place a transparent debt contraction mechanism and a robust and workable debt management and debt sustainability strategy,” JCTR officials say.
They also call for the “adoption of transformative and servant leadership model at all levels of governance in our society.”
“The maturity of our independence and democracy will be measured by the degree of our leaders’ willingness to drive a common good agenda rather than a self-enrichment agenda,” they further say.
They note that “from the 2021 national budget, it is evident that funds allocated to the social sector have shrunk significantly thereby affecting the ordinary person’s access to health, education, clean water and sanitation.”
Referencing the social sector budget that has been revised downwards, the officials of the Jesuit research institution say, “This will further compromise human development and undermine promotion of human dignity and attainment of the common good.”
“All the wealth and resources divinely endowed on Zambia is meant for the benefit and the welfare of all the Zambian people without any discrimination,” they add.
They note that while Zambia has enjoyed a reputation of peace over the last 56 years, there are concerns about “the rate of political violence threatening this long-earned reputation.”
JCTR leadership in Zambia urges the government to take the lead in sensitizing citizens to reject all forms of violence in the society
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