MY life is in the hands of God and I am enjoying good health and those wishing me ill-health will not succeed, President Edgar Lungu has said.
And President Lungu said the removal of subsidies should begin to bear fruits for its targeted vulnerable citizens through improvement to the social cash transfer programme by 2017.
President Lungu said his opponents wishing him ill health should know that not even their strongest wizardry would succeed because his life was well protected in the hands of God.
He has since warned those fond of disrespecting him that the wrath of the law would deal with them as he was a democrat and would never use heavy-handedness to silence his opponents.
“Everything has time, and when the time comes, I shall seek redress through the courts of law to help me deal with those insulting me and disrespecting me as Head of State. I believe in democracy and the law is there to deal with those who are ever insulting me,” President Lungu said.
And President Lungu said millions of poor Zambians should begin to get the benefits of the removal of subsidies by 2017.
He said only the few rich Zambians who owned cars were benefiting from the fuel subsidies but that with the removal of the subsidies, millions of the poor Zambians would be able to benefit directly with improved social cash transfer because of the availability of funds.
Speaking during the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Bemba programme Chintobentobe yesterday, President Lungu said his Government was hopeful that the benefits of the removal of subsidies would soon begin to reach the intended targets especially those in rural areas.
He said so far, Government had recovered huge amounts of savings from the programme and would soon address the social cash transfer programme aimed at improving the lives of the targeted groups of people as opposed to a few Zambians who owned vehicles.
The Head of State explained that the International Monitoring Fund (IMF) did not have anything to do with the decision to remove subsidies as it was Government’s own realisation of the amounts of money it was spending on subsidising for the rich while the poor remained in abject poverty.
He said subsidies only worked at helping the rich save when Government should have been spending such funds at improving the welfare of the millions of Zambians living below the poverty datum line especially in rural areas.
“Very few people own cars and the majority of these live in Lusaka and other developed areas. As such, they benefited more from the cheap fuel. But with the removal of subsidies, Government has managed to save huge amounts which should now be channeled to improving the social cash transfer that targets the vulnerable including the aged in rural areas,” President Lungu said. And President Lungu has disclosed that Government was working at developing the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) into a revolving fund that would see farmers grow out of perpetual dependence on the scheme.
He said farmers must not continually depend on handouts but that with FISP, they should be able to develop their capacity into boosting their agro-businesses and eventually diversify their production.
He said farmers should be able to help build a market for demand crops and not just depend on Food Reserve Agency (FRA) as the only buyer of maize, but to produce enough even for export.
He said farmers benefiting from the scheme should know that they would not remain at the same position, but rather build their capacity and leave the scheme to allow other people to benefit from the Government programme.