MATHEWS Mwale says 2018 will go down as a very difficult year, economically, for Zambia.

Mwale hopes all political parties would swallow their pride and come to the three church mother bodies mediated dialogue.

In an interview, Mwale said people were still struggling to come out of the 2018 battles.

“For me 2018 has been a difficult year economically and people are still struggling to come out of that. But what has caused that? I think that money needs to flow, whatever fiscal or monetary policy you have but certain things need to be done for the economy to run,” he said. “The payment system, take for example people in the transport sector in particular those that are involved in the transportation of our produce, for three years most of the transporters have not been paid. Now just imagine what sort of pressure that group of people is going through.”

Mwale said people have tax obligations to meet and salaries to pay.

“In the construction industry it’s the same. These are the same things that are happening. Now one tends to ask but in the budget for instance there was a component of dismantling local debt, if there was a budgetary allocation for dismantling local debt, what happened to the money that these people are not being paid?” he wondered. “So it’s either there is something wrong with our payment system or it’s simply not working because once a budget has been done one expects that money should flow so that people can get paid or meet their debt obligations, tax obligations and wage obligations.”

Mwale said a lot of people have been messed up because they have gone the kaloba way by getting money from shylocks.

“The shylocks are cashing in, people are losing houses, people are losing cars, they are losing property in order to pay debt, to pay for school fees and many other obligations,” he said. “This is what has characterised the last one year, so there has been a slowdown in business, so it was a very, very challenging year to an ordinary person. We need to look at these things, we need to look at our payments once a budget has been passed, the allocations must spread across the country to boost the expenditure element of the ordinary individual.”

And Mwale said dialogue was necessary to avoid polarity in society.

“Whichever side of the eye, whichever side of political spectrum you belong to, beyond the election time if they are issues that need to be sorted out, I think dialogue is an answer because by law once an election has been passed it is very, very difficult to undo what has taken place,” he said. “In short you can’t keep on fighting beyond the elections but you need to find the way forward. So grey areas need to be sorted out through dialogue. So to me it’s a very welcome idea.”

Mwale said the involvement of the church was a welcome move adding that all concerned parties should swallow their pride and welcome the outcome of the national dialogue process.

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