President Lungu can afford to purchase a new $400 million dollar Private Jet, but the salaries of Civil Servants, Teachers and Medics still remain delayed and unpaid.
Yesterday morning University workers at the Copperbelt University once again woke up to the news that they would not be receiving their April salaries on time, as a result of further salary delays. With the University’s Management giving no indication as to when the workers might be payed.
CBU’s Registrar, Helen Makumba stated that the delay in salaries was beyond the management’s control but assured all staff that efforts were being put in place to ensure they got paid soon.
This scenario is becoming a regular predicament for civil servants, teachers, medics and postal workers, who have all faced such delays to their salaries for month’s as a result of the governments incompetence to allocate the appropriate and correct budgets needed to pay them.
The government is putting these workers in an inexcusable position, with many affected facing eviction from their own homes as they simply cannot pay their rent, or support and feed their families.
What is most shocking about these circumstances, is that whilst families are being evicted from their homes and struggling to get by, President Lungu is spending hundred’s of millions of dollars of government money on expensive luxuries e.g. his most recent purchase of a brand new Israeli built Gulf-stream business jet, which came to a cost of US $400 million after he had installed it with all the latest gadgets.
The standard price for one of these jets is US$65 million, however sources have said that add ons such as radar systems, and maintenance packaged brought the total of Lungu’s new toy up to US$400 million. One source who was involved in the procurement process told Africa Confidential that Lungu paid $130 million for the plane alone. The financing package was under negotiation with an Israeli bank and now appears to have been re-assigned to government lawyers, suggesting that state funds have bene used.
How President Lungu feels it appropriate to fund such luxuries whilst so many of his people are suffering the consequences of his poor economic handling is a total mystery.
In a statement released by the government yesterday, Lungu promised that the issue of late payments of salaries will be a thing of the past and the government will ensure that salaries are paid on time.
This seems difficult to believe and unreassuring for Zambians, when issues have already surfaced yesterday of further delays to the salaries of CBU’s staff.