United we stand

TIME for mere political rhetoric is over and all the elected leaders must pull along with the policy directions that President Lungu put across in his address during the official opening of Parliament yesterday.There is the unmistakable need to adopt a development focus in prioritizing industrialization of the economy so that we can move from the heavy dependence on copper to agriculture in the next five years.

We are certain that the agricultural sector offers us immense potential for wealth creation through value addition to our produce.We hold the view that doing so will afford us an opportunity to create more jobs which in turn would significantly reduce poverty levels among the people.

The stance taken by Government to diversify the economy to agriculture deserves the support of all progressive-minded citizens regardless of political affiliation.And it is gratifying to note that Government has prioritized agriculture and industrialization on its agenda of the next five years.Industrialization will greatly reduce on the high levels of unemployment that we are grappling with as a country.

This will require clearly defined legislation to facilitate new trade, investment and enterprise development through the promotion of non-traditional exports and investments.The establishment of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) by Government will spur this agenda in spearheading the development of our country’s domestic industrial capacity.This is the sure path that will foster meaningful transformation of our economy as can be witnessed from industrialized nations such as China, Malaysia, Singapore to mention but a few.In achieving all this it is undeniable that there is urgent need for Government to focus its attention on the energy sector so that other sources can be explored.It is naked truth that our current electricity supply to different sectors of our economy is under stress particularly that there has not been development of new power generation stations for a long time.

The unfavourable weather patterns induced by the drought spell should compel us all to think of exploring renewable sources of energy and move away from over-dependence on hydro-electricity supply.We think that there are surely other cheaper and reliable sources of generating energy unlike the current scenario.For as long as the energy sector is not fully developed, our plans to salvage our economy from the doldrums shall remain a pipe dream.

The decision by Government to introduce performance based contracts for Permanent Secretaries is a welcome development that will promote achievement of set targets under each ministry.Going by the foregoing, we urge Government to consider introducing performance contracts for the ministers as well so that each ministry is held fully accountable for its set targets for a certain period of time.We strongly think that with the current composition of Cabinet, performance-based contracts can work well because many of the appointed ministers have been put to superintend over ministries they have professional attachment to.We urge all citizens to support the Government’s transformative agenda to better our economy for our future generation.