60 percent of subsidy was benefiting Mines – PF Deputy Minister

Ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Government says over 60 percent of the subsidized fuel was benefiting big mining companies in the country.

Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice president, Harry Kalaba said this was why government removed the subsidy because it was not much benefiting the Zambian people. He said there was no way the government was going to continue subsisting the mines through providing ‘cheap subsidized fuel to them.

The Deputy Minister has meanwhile maintained that the removal of the subsidy will have a far benefiting effect to the majority Zambians in the future.

Kalaba was speaking on Let the People Talk programme hosted by Phoenis, a Lusaka private owned Radio station May 31, 2013.

But a caller Elijah Ngwale, a prominent contributor to the programme said Zambians were not interested in having the benefits in the future. He said people want to feel the benefit now.

“We want to see the benefit now, we are not interested in that long term talk benefit,” Ngwale who is blind and identifies himself as a honorary Professor said.

On the same programme the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) projected an increase in the cost of living in the next month following the removal of subsidy. JCTR representative Daniel Mutale says the monthly food basket which currently stands at  3,600 rebased will shoot up.

Mutale has advised government to come up with measures that will avert looming price increase even after the removal of subsidies. He questioned why the country had even continued to experience high food prices especially for the staple when it was boasting of maize surplus in the region and beyond.

And Communication Director in the Office of the MMD President Muhabi Lungu who was also on the panel of discussants advised government to rescind its decision especially after alot of public outcry. He said the Nigerian government also took a similar route but had to back track on its move after wide protest.