And Chanda said some of the loudest personalities on the sale of companies were experts at selling state enterprises but had deliberately twisted facts in their current scheme.
During Special Feature on ZNBC Main News, Chanda urged Zambians to guard against demagogues that had made political lies their currency in seeking political office.
“Those who are making scurrilous accusations about the sale of companies, they know exactly how companies are sold. An expression of interest is given out, you can go back to the back copies of newspapers, the Zambia Privatization Agency will put out an expression of interest, put out the best price, put out the conditions of sale, put out a prospectus and those who express interest will put up a bid,” he said.
“The sale process takes a long period of time. Some of the people who have been nosiest about this, know exactly how to sale companies. The Zambian government, the President is making that clarification, the PF government since 2011 has not sold a single company, the IDC portfolio which the President chairs has 33 companies, none of those has been sold, with respect to the three that he singled out, he just wanted to make it clear because this is the premier of the World Bank.”
Chanda added: “The President himself had to make that point clarifying further that not a single company has been sold which is why the President has been very strong and clear. There are 33 companies, the only ones that had been sold are those that were sold by some of the people who making noises about the sale.”
He said that the floating of ZAFFICO shares on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LSE) was publicly announced in February and wondered what the current furore was about.
“This too came out publicly in February when the President said at a public function in Klulushi when he was launching the pole treatment plant, he said we are going to list ZAFFICO. This is partial privatization by the state,” he said.
“This is a process that enables participation of citizens into publicly listed compnies. ZCCM which I can call the crown jewel within the family of the IDC has been listed. Has that company been bought by the Chinese? No, Zanaco has been listed, INDO Zambia has been listed. These companies are raising money through the capital market.”
Chanda said, “Let me state that the noise about ZAFFICO is perpetrated by people who do not have any information whatsoever. ZAFFICO does not own anything in excess of 50, 000 hectares of land, ZAFFICO does not own Mukula, ZAFFICO is only in possession of illegally harvested Mukula which the security services are ceasing and giving them. If you own a farm and there are Mukula trees that Mukula tree does not belong to ZAFFICO, the rest of the forest in this country are under the Ministry of Lands and Environment.”
On the debt situation, Chanda said that Zambia was not in a state of distress as all the obligations were being made.
“The President spoke to a credible audience, admits we have debt challenges but makes it very clear that we are not in debt distress. He makes a point that we are making steps, taking measures and instructing the Ministry of Finance and everyone within government that the borrowing going forward is concessional, no interest loans and grants,” he said.
“This is a President who is conscious that the debt has gone up and must do something in order to prevent us going into a distress situation. He stresses that even at the lowest point when the IMF ditched the country in 1988 and President Kaunda began to print coupons in order to finance the purchase of mealie meal for the poor Zambia did not default. Zambia has not defaulted on any of its debts.”
Chanda also cautioned the public against being willing consumers of fake news that was peddled by politicians bent on discrediting government.
“Beware of the fake news which has become a currency of exchange for demagogues who are seeking political office through undermining institutions of government. It is not difficult to detect fake news, when you get that seek clarification from government institutions,” he said.
“But to trade in fake news and when you are called to account, you put up some fake bravado, reckless and try and show that you said the truth, it does not help.”