The PF government is ignoring the technical advice from Bank of Zambia Governor, Dr. Denny Kalyalya at it’s own peril. Dr. Kalyalya’s warning to the parliamentary committee on estimates that excessive use of monetary policy instruments will backfire and plague this country into an even deeper crisis is spot on. Since being appointed in his position, Dr. Kalyalya has consistently provided sound economic advice to the government but his efforts are falling on “deaf ears”.
Dr. Kalyalya has been very clear as to why monetary policy alone cannot provide all solutions to the country’s deepening crisis. He has been emphatic on the need for a supportive fiscal policy as well as on enhanced downstream measures that would make economic policy more efficient and effective. Dr. Kalyalya has even tried to provide hope and optimism on the growth prospects and resilience of the Zambian economy. He therefore combines a rare mixture of a professional economist, technocrat and patriot. Being a presidential appointee, he ought to be more credible in the eyes of the PF government than most of us standing on the other side of the fence. But what we are seeing is the complete opposite: Dr. Kalyalya has become a lone rational voice in a jungle full of confusion and despair. He is slowly becoming a teacher that no one is listening to, a technocrat that is misplaced, and an intelligent economist rendered ineffective.
Several attributes of Dr. Kalyalya’s personality makes him an uncomfortable client for the PF leadership: He upholds a high standard of personal integrity, he values professionalism, and he is the sort of person who would rather opt to live a simple but dignified life rather than compromise the reputation he has built over decades. He is therefore a “misfit” in the PF culture of political expediency, uninformed policy measures, constant policy reversals and political patronage.
The question is why is the PF government not listening to its central bank governor? And the answer is that it is deliberate. Dr. Kalyalya is directly and indirectly telling the PF government that at this point of the economic crisis, fiscal policy has to instill strict expenditure discipline – a message that the PF politicians jittery for a re-election in less than a year are not ready to listen to. It is the typical short termism that has led to the downfall of many other governments worldwide.