September 13, 2005

UFIAW to block ZNCB privatisation

The Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) have begun the process to file an injunction to restrain government from privatising Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB). According to ZUFIAW general secretary Joyce Nonde, the union had already contacted its lawyers and union members were currently writing a report detailing heads of arguments on why the bank should not be sold. "We are aware that we can no longer use Parliament to stop this process and our only recourse is the High Court," she said. Nonde noted that ZUFIAW knew that the government was determined to dispose of the bank even when the concession of public utilities like Zambia Railways to Railway Systems of Zambia was not working to expectations.

"ZUFIAW will be directly affected once ZNCB is sold. We have suffered as a union every time a financial institution is placed in private hands," Nonde said. "And up to now, government has failed to tell us how it expects the over 80 per cent Zambians who live on US$1 a day will manage to buy shares in ZNCB." Poverty was not an accident but a phenomenon that sprung from specific policies that made and kept people poor, she added. She cited the International Monetary Fund and World Bank-led structural adjustment policies as those that retired most Zambians into deprivation. "Lack of food, medical care and clean water are killing millions of Africans while more food goes to waste in developed countries," Nonde noted. "We are in this state because our leaders accept global policies that Zambia has no capacity to implement. She also expressed that Zambia, for instance, had no capacity to participate in global trade under the current World Trade Organisation regulations, yet the country was signatory to most rules and regulations. (The Post, Lusaka)

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