Following comments made on Friday by President Michael Sata concerning the government’s plans to nationalize Zanaco bank, critics have come forward to denounce the move, saying that the expropriation would scare off foreign investment.
President Sata on Friday said that government will “move in” on “anything which was privatised with corruption like Zanaco and ZAMTEL”.
Last February, President Sata constituted a commission of inquiry chaired by PF member Justice Minister Sebastian Zulu to probe the manner and process the 49 per cent stake in Zambia National Commercial Bank was sold.
Zanaco was sold to Rabobank in 2007 under the rule of late president Levy Mwanawasa at US$8.25 million, and according to Zulu, the report was ready and only awaiting permission from the Secretary to the Cabinet for handover to the President.
Commenting on President Sata’s statement, Professor Oliver Saasa said there was likely to be apprehension in the economy and investor community owing to the President’s statement.
“That statement was premature because this Zanaco is a subject of investigations and when a statement like that is made, it’s very easy for the international community, investors to immediately believe that the fate that befell the communications company Zamtel is going to fall on Zambia National Commercial Bank,” Prof Saasa said. “To save the President’s face, we need a government spokesman to elaborate that he was just giving an example and it does not mean the decision has been made before the President receives those recommendations of the inquiry,” he said.