President Michael Sata’s special assistant for economics and development affairs, Paul Siame has clarified that government has no intentions of nationalizing the Zambia National Comercial Bank (Zanaco).
“Don’t be mislead that Zambia is going back to nationalisation; we are not nationalising anything but anything which was privatised with corruption like Zamtel, we will move in. Anything which was privatised with corruption like Zanaco, we will move in, but that’s not nationalisation, we are going to float those [shares] publicly,” President Sata had said.
The President’s statement attracted condemnation from critics like Professor Oliver Saasa.
Professor Saasa said on Monday that President Sata’s remarks on Zanaco were premature and set off unnecessary panic among foreign investors that the government was going to nationalise the bank, which is 46% owned by Rabobank of Netherlands.
But Siame, in a statement issued today, stated that the government welcomed investors across all sectors of the economy and had provided for incentives aimed specifically at increased levels of investment and international trade, as well as increased domestic economic growth.
“The government has a duty as custodians of national assets to protect public interest where they may be allegations of corruption such as the privatisation process of Zamtel and therefore institute investigations. In the case of Zamtel, investigations did indeed prove that it was corruptly privatised and the government took the necessary corrective measures in national interest in line with its policy of zero tolerance on corruption.
The PF Government would like to clarify that “Nationalization is not the Government’s policy” as has been alluded to by Professor Oliver Saasa in The Post Newspaper of May 21, 2012 and that no decision has been made by Government to nationalize ZANACO,” he stated.