THE PATRIOTIC Front is good at creating problems whose solutions they struggle to find, says for Radical Revolutionary Party president Vincent Chaile. Chaile, a former University of Zambia students Union president, questioned the government’s rationale to start deducting student loans from former students whom he said were already getting poor salaries amidst high taxes.
He reminded President Edgar Lungu and higher education minister Professor Nkandu Luo that they were both beneficiaries of free bursaries from the government. Government is projecting to collect K12 million by December this year from loan recoveries owed by 4,000 former students of the three public universities, according to higher education loans and scholarships director Ireen Chirwa.
The estimated 4,000 students currently employed by government were from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Copperbelt and Robert Makasa universities.
Chirwa said her department was approaching employers, starting with government and quasi government institutions, regarding the recoveries. She said those in the informal sector would be traced using various agencies like the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) while those outside the country would be found using the immigration department.
Chirwa told the media that those running entrepreneurial firms would be tracked through Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) using national identities like the National Registration, cars and bank details. But Chaile, a graduate of the University of Zambia, said the government’s resolve to start collecting money from a workforce whose wages were frozen was a clear indication that they had failed to collect enough taxes from the mines and other foreign multinational companies.
He warned the government not to frustrate the qualified workforce saying it would be suicidal to do so to an already struggling economy.
“It’s on record that President Edgar Lungu, Prof Nkandu Luo and many other in PF cabinet are a testimony and product of free bursary from the government. Since inception, PF has never been a solution to many challenges this country is facing. They are good at creating problems themselves and struggles to find solutions. Surely what is the rationale to start deducting student loans from former UNZA and CBU students who are already getting poor salaries amidst high taxes?” Chaile askef.
“PF government has failed to realise that a highly qualified human resource is very critical to development. Frustrating such individual is suicidal to an already struggling economy. Responsible governments are there to protect such highly qualified individuals in the system because such resources are scarce and hiring them elsewhere comes at a great cost. Such desperate measures are a clear indication that government have failed to collect enough taxes from mines and other foreign multinational companies. Copper right now is selling the highest on the world market, fetching above $7,000 per tonne ever but the questions is why are we not benefiting from our copper mines?”
Chaile wandered why the government was quick to give large tax concessions to foreign multinational companies while muzzling its own citizenry through taxes and bursaries charged at commercial rates.