President Lungu’s Full Speech During the Opening of Parliament

  • Sep 14, 2019
  • Lusaka Times

I am privileged and honoured to once again address this August house and the nation at large during this auspicious occasion of opening the fourth session of the twelfth national assembly.

The state of the nation address is the major platform, that I, as head of state, has the mandate to use as an avenue to foster engagement with the legislature and the executive to delve in depth on the issues that affect our country.

This state of the nation address provides an over-arching guidance for all duty holders, beginning with my entire cabinet and all government officials, to work closely with the people to provide solutions to problems that confront us, and to consistently inform our people on activities being undertaken by the executive on their behalf through parliamentary oversights, media discussions, consultations with various stakeholders and indeed consistent press releases.

This model, in my view is more effective than what a single press brief can do. Hence the reason why the executive comprising a team of cabinet ministers with different portfolio functions has a duty to address and attend to a broader spectrum of people, consistently.

Therefore, this state of the nation address is a subject of debate on the floor of this house by the executive, the opposition and independent members of parliament. During this debate process, I encourage the general public to make consultations and share their view with members of this August house in the recognised channels in order for diverse views to be taken into consideration.

Before I proceed with the details of my address today, may I request the house to join me in observing a minute of silence in honour of the former member of parliament for Katuba constituency, the late Mrs. Patricia Chileshe Mwashingwele, who passed away on 2nd May, 2019.

May I congratulate all the new members of parliament. These are Mr. Joseph Chishala, the Honourable Member for Roan, Mr. Charles Mambwe Chalwe, the Honourable member for Bahati, Mr. Aubrey Bampi Kapalasa, the Honourable member for Katuba and Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu, the nominated member of parliament.

During the third session, the house effectively and efficiently conducted its business under your able leadership supported by your two deputies. Collectively, the house continued to legislate and provide oversight to the executive through questions, bills and private members motions considered, ministerial statements rendered on the floor of the house and annual reports tabled. My further gratitude goes to the clerk of the national assembly and her staff for discharging their duties diligently.

On the executive side, my gratitude goes to her honour, the vice-president of the Republic of Zambia, as leader of government business, for the exemplary manner in which she executed her role.

My address to this August house today is premised on the theme, “accelerating sustainable development for a better Zambia amidst the impact of climate change.”

Why this theme? Fellow citizens, our country is facing a very serious problem. We have a situation, which we cannot run away from. It is over a decade ago, that we all heard of climate change, even in this parliament. We all heard the term ‘El Niño and the El Niño effects’ that started causing devastating effects around the world through changes in the climatic conditions. These were signs and symptoms of climate change. Did we, as a country prepare for this adequately? Did successful government’s prepare adequately for the people of Zambia to face this situation? Did we do enough to put in place early warning systems? Maybe not!

It is for this reason that my government has not been spared by the adverse effects of climate change. As I fly within the country, I see the drought-stricken areas on one side and the flooded areas on the other, I have seen how climate change can create varying conditions with negative effects within one country.

I have further seen small businesses such as makeshift stalls, locally know as Tu-Ntemba’s, shutting down as they fail to cope with business due to load shedding. How can a bakery owner run a business if in their manufacturing process power is turned off and at the same time water runs out? I see mothers and children in compounds walking long distances in search for water and queuing for it in the few places it is found.

As I sometimes drive around the city at night, I see more and more areas of darkness due to load shedding because our dams that generate power do not have water.

At household level, food is being wasted in homes due to low voltage and consistent turning on and off of power. I have heard of people failing to leave or enter their homes because their electric gates have malfunctioned due to power failure. It saddens me and I fail to imagine people living in high density areas having to walk in darkness to and from their work places. Surely this poses a serious security risk on our people.

I am aware Mr. Speaker, of some health facilities going without power for long periods of time. I begin to wonder how our health workers are looking after our patients without water and electricity, which are both, extremely important and a human necessity within the management of patients.

Sir, in view of the above, I am directing the ministry of energy, from midnight today to prioritise power supply to hosptials and health centres. Further, the ministry of energy should prioritise energy supply to our water supply operations.

This is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly. The inability to have adequate water, generate enough power, grow enough food to feed our people, have all been greatly caused by the effects of climate change. We all seriously need to understand and begin to appreciate this in detail and stop pointing fingers at each other for failure to grow our economy at the desired pace. This natural phenomenon is, a force majeure in the name of climate change.

Climate change is the current world challenge, greatly hindering the development of many nations. Climate change is real. It is a phenomenon that the entire world is facing in different ways according to the weather patterns of different regions.

My fellow countrymen and women, I would like you to fully understand that this is not my problem alone, nor the problem of my government alone. I would like to appeal to you all that, as we journey along in the sustainable development of our country, we do so by ensuring we mitigate the effects of climate change.

It does not matter whether you are in government, in opposition, in the private sector or indeed in civil society; all of us are affected by climate change. This is nature, but even if it is nature, we need to join hands and see what we can do about it together.

My government is committed to ensuring that we fight, and fight vigorously the effects of climate change, for sustainable development of our counrty. As I have said, we must join hands to achieve this. It must be done at political level, inter-governmental level, including corporate and civil society organisations, and at household level.

This is why in my address today, you will repeatedly hear me focus on climate change. The earlier we understand and appreciate that developmental agenda needs to become more resilient in the midst of climate change, the better placed we all will be, to working towards achieving our country’s developmental agenda.

We have all seen the changes in weather patterns and the devastating effects on people, property and the nation. Our rivers, dams and lakes in the Southern part of the country are running low or even drying up, where as in the Northern part, we are experiencing unprecedented floods. Consequently, the nation is faced with, water, energy and crop failure in some parts of the country.

What does a resilient nation do in such a situation? It realigns itself to new ways of sustainability by understanding the changing environment, adapting methods of survival and putting in place action plans that make us overcome any challenges and forge ahead.

We need to acknowledge that some of the environmental problems are man-made. Corporate institutions and individual citizens tend to ignore environmental impact of their commercial or individual activities which they conduct adjacent to our water sources.

In this regard, I am directing the ministry of lands and natural resources and the ministry of water development, sanitation and environmental protection to take lead in ensuring that our water sources and the land adjacent to these areas are not adulterated by corporate entities or individuals in the name of development.

Honourable ministers, and your permanent secretaries of the above mentioned ministries, ensure that the Zambia environmental management agency, and the water resources management authority, realigns themselves to effectively carry out their mandate and produce the required results, today and not tomorrow. From today henceforth, I shall not see a house or indeed a factory being built adjacent to our water resource, depriving the majority of other Zambian of usage of this resource.

As head of state, it is my utmost responsibility to lead the nation into a spirit of resilience, an action plan on sustainability and reassurance that we are moving in the right direction. No government wishes and prays for drought. No government wishes to have dams that are generating power, dry up. No govt wishes to have crop failure leading to hunger situation among its people. Indeed, not my government!

In the detail of my address today, I will, outline milestones achieved in the past year and the policies thus far and moving forward that have guided and will guide the implementation of various developmental programmes for the future. These policies are aimed at growing our economy in a sustainable manner, building resilience and changing the way we interact with the environment, making Zambia a better place for all.

Let me make it clear that we are not alone in taking action against climate change. Most countries of the world are with us. At the global level, Zambia is party to a number of international and regional frameworks. These include but not limited to; the united nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development, the united nations framework convention on climate change, the united nations convention on biological diversity and the united nations convention to combat desertification.

My government is implementing a number of policies that are addressing issues on sustainable development in the midst of climate change. Our supreme law of the land in article 257 of the constitution requires the government to establish and implement mechanisms to address climate change. The policies include the national policy on climate change, the national adaptation plan of action, the nationally appropriate mitigation actions and the national climate change response strategy.

The medium-term development objectives of our country as espoused in the seventh national development plan for the period 2017 to 2021, have equally integrated climate change.

The patriotic front manifesto articulates the collective aspirations of our people for a better life, which gives this assurance, and I quote: “we are committed to meeting and exceeding these expectations of the people of Zambia,” end of quote. My government’s determination to lift Zambia and all Zambians to greater heights of socio-economic development in a sustainable manner is unquestionable. However, the effects of climate change could undermine our aspirations if not urgently addressed.

Our economy has, in the recent past, faced some serious headwinds. The country registered a gross domestic product growth rate of 3.7 percent as at end of 2018. The growth rate for 2019 was earlier projected at around four percent but is being revised downwards to about two percent on account of adverse weather conditions, which has affected the energy and agricultural sectors.

Since 2015, when we experienced droughts that affected electricity generation, growth slowed down to an average of 3.5 percent between 2015 and 2018 from an average of 6.4 percent between 2011 and 2014. This slowdown was largely attributed to climate variabilities.

To have meaningful impact on the high poverty levels in the country, we must grow the economy at a minimum rate of seven percent per annum. The emphasis must be on green growth, which entails taking a path of economic growth that uses natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Our fiscal space must continue to grow, and this can only be achieved by ensuring macroeconomic stability and maintaining debt within sustainable levels. We have procured debt for development, which is one of the many financing options that we pursue. We can see it in the road infrastructure, bridges, alternative power generation investments, including but not limited to massive infrastructure development in the health, education and communications sector. This we all can see and attest to.

The art of borrowing is the ability to pay back. Yes, I am aware that there is accumulation of domestic arrears which has not only negatively impacted the operations of suppliers and contractors, but also on the performance of the financial sector through an increase in non-performing loans. Furthermore, there is an accumulation of pension arrears. This has got to be managed.

My government has had a robust agenda to ensure that the fiscal space is managed, but we have faced numerous challenges to meet our objectives. Government assurances have clearly not been achieved and fully implemented. Among the reasons that this has not been achieved is attributed to the bad weather effects on our water bodies that affected the performance of our energy and agriculture sectors, among others. This is what the effects of climate change can do.

Needless to say, my government is optimistic to overcome these challenges, irrespective of the effects of the world phenomenon.

It is for this reason that I directed the new secretary to cabinet, Dr. Simon Kamwendo Miti, to meet the permanent secretaries and senior government officials, monthly, to inform the civil servants that, in view of the current economic situation, government needs to work more prudently and to do so, the focus should be on “managing for results, by doing more with less.” This is the new mantra that my government is working with at all levels.

I want to place emphasis on the need to dismantle these arrears, while curbing further accumulation of arrears. My government has taken this very seriously and I have directed those tasked with the responsibility of managing this debt stock to ensure that stringent measures are actively implemented.

Our non-discretionary expenditure, which comprises personnel emoluments and debt stands at 50.1% and 40% respectively, giving a total of 90.1% of our annual budget. This leaves the discretionary expenditure amount to stand at 9.9% of our annual budget. This Mr. Speaker is an alarming ratio.

It is cardinal that personnel emoluments must be reflective of service delivery to the Zambian people. I have observed, my speaker, that this is not the case. It is for this reason that I have directed secretary to cabinet, to immediately clean up the public service pay roll to stop this hemorrhage today, and not tomorrow.

At the heart of our austerity measures, going forward, we will implement actions to manage the debt stock and curb any further accumulation and save money to dismantle arrears owed to suppliers.

Positive results must be achieved at all costs. Ministries and public institutions must collaborate on cross-cutting issues. No one is expected to continue working in silos, and this I mentioned in my address to this August house three years ago. I am reiterating it now, that we will not work in silos and, we must produce results by doing more with less.

It can be done and it will be done. To the secretary to cabinet Mr. Speaker, all sectors of the economy must be streamlined to ensure normalcy in any sub-sector. To those sectors found outside the normal line of this policy directive and pausing a great cost to government, secretary to cabinet, normalise it with due process of this administration.

These, and many more measures being put in place, will begin to increase liquidity in the economy and place the economy on an accelerated growth trajectory.

Government is determined to provide that conducive environment for the private sector to thrive and to implement market-driven policies, my government remains committed to assuring the safety of private investments.

I strongly believe that favourable measures are essential in attracting both domestic and foreign direct investment in our quest to achieve sustainable development. The private sector can attest that generally they are operating their businesses in a conducive environment. This is evidenced by Zambia having actualised investment in 2018 of USD 700 million with 31,086 jobs created. As at June 2019 the actualised investment stood at USD 415 million and I am confident that at this rate, the returns on investment will surpass that of last year.

The Zambia revenue authority devised new and progesssive methods for tax collection which is business friendly as opposed to policing out local and foreign investors.

Electronic platforms for the business community have been put in place, to help them operate from the comfort of their homes and offices, ultimately, helping them cut down on transaction cost while enhancing tax compliance. Dialogue platforms have been established to set a friendly atmosphere of dealing with tax matters with various taxpayers. This is all being done to promote a business friendly environment in the country.

The honourable minister of finance will soon present, to this August house, the 2020 national budget. The budget will outline in greater detail the measures government will implement in order to accelerate our development agenda.

With austerity measures being put in place by my government, next year’s budget will be seriously affected as we expect to meet our debt obligations, pay outstanding local debts and meet the pressing needs of our country such as food security, water reticulation and energy generation.

I have already stated that moving forward my government we will be “managing for results by doing more with less” until such a time when we have adequate resources for all the people of Zambia. I want to remind all public servants, in particular, that the money that government uses to run the country is tax payer’s money. It is our people’s money! What they have given us is the mandate to use it prudently to provide services to the nation. Let us use it for its intended purpose in the most diligent and prudent manner.

To demonstrate our commitment to doing more with less, I have instructed the minister of finance to ensure that budget allocations are made to each cluster with cluster members deciding on their priorities and identify areas they can jointly implement using their comparative advantages and this will be a permanent feature in the budgeting process.

With this said, I, therefore urge this August house to support the 2020 national budget. It is the conviction of government that, together, we can take this great nation to a higher level of socio-economic development.

Let me now focus on the implementation of policies, strategies and programmes in line with today’s theme under the five pillars of the seventh national development plan.

Pillar 1 – economic diversification and job creation

The patriotic front government is alive to the new dynamics in the world of work by embarking on programmes that support the development of the youth with changing labour conditions. The youth need practical skills to enable them seize opportunities that continue to emerge in the construction, metal and timber processing industry, information technology and other technological advancements. Time has come for the youths to have a paradigm shift from being job seekers to being creators of jobs. It is against this backdrop that my government will continue to invest in youth empowerment programmes to enable the youths access cheaper financing to start up their businesses.

At policy level, I have instructed government agencies to prioritise purchases of furniture and other school and office equipment from organized youth enterprises and cooperatives to enhance their growth. In addition, we shall actively promote youth participation in industrial yards, where various practical training skills are being offered, to further improve the economic advancements.

The diversification of our economy and job creation is premised on value addition to our abundant natural resources and integration of climate smart solutions. Over 80 percent of our people are directly dependent on climate sensitive natural resources which support activities in agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, mining, tourism, water development and energy. This calls for their sustainable use and management.

My government is actively promoting climate smart agricultural practices poised at improving agricultural production and productivity. We are promoting climate resilient food crops such as sorghum, millet, cassava and yams. These crops, in addition to being resilient to weather conditions are highly nutritious. Many of us who grew up and are growing up in rural areas know the nutritional value we get out of these crops. Let us get to our roots and promote these healthy crops to a commercial level.

I have encouraged every Zambian, including the civil servants to all engage in one form of agricultural activity at household level. Small gardens in our back yards with a variety of crops can help us sustainably feed our families on a daily basis. If we begin small and appreciate the value of this action, we as a people will realise the importance of self-reliance and begin to think of the bigger picture of growing our backyard gardens into commercial viable businesses. Remember ‘charity begins at home’.

Government’s role in assisting our farmers to understand smart agriculture for sustainable growth and development in the midst of climate change is to provide the necessary information and messages on climate change. If our people are properly sensitised, adopt best possible practices and continuously remain focused on positive growth, nothing is impossible for a nation to grow.

I would like to give you a real life example of resilience and sustainability in the agriculture sector in the midst of climate change effects. Present in this August house today, is a forty-three-year-old farmer, Mr. Raymond Mufwambi, from chief Siachitema’s area in Kalomo, who successfully adopted conservation farming practices in an area that has increasingly been receiving poor rainfall. Despite the drought in the Southern half of the country last farming season, Mr. Mufwambi, had an admirable harvest on his six hectare farm when many of our farmers lost out completely. Let us learn the best practice Mr. Mufwambi adopted that led to this success story. I therefore, urge the media to pick up on his story on conservation farming and share the information with the Zambian public.

I am aware that those practicing monoculture production systems of farming have been hard hit. In view of this, my government is promoting the planting of tree crops, such as cashew in Western province and citrus fruits in western, eastern and Muchinga provinces. This is creating economic opportunities, while protecting the environment by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. It is this carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming, which in turn affects the ozone layer and ultimately, changes in climatic conditions.

Given our suitable soils and climatic conditions, there are other opportunities that exist, beyond citrus fruits. Other tree crops such as almonds and macadamia nuts can and must be promoted. These are great sources of nutrition and can yield massive returns if invested in very well. Let us be a people that open our thinking horizon beyond the conventional reliance on maize as the only source of investment.

It is for this reason that my government is supporting agriculture beyond rain-fed farming, through irrigation programmes. Only last month, I was in Kafue to launch the Chiansi irrigation scheme at the Zambia national service farm. This is a decisive intervention in combating the effects of climate change.

It is estimated that the project will create at least 400 jobs for the locals as well as reduce the vulnerability of small-scale farmers to the effects of climate change. The project has also targeted 1,000 households and 1,800 hectares of land for irrigation using pipeline and canals to be accessed by the community.

The patriotic front government remains committed to its agricultural diversification agenda both in crop, and in the fish and livestock sub-sectors. Capture fisheries is equally threatened by climate change, as its negative effects impact on freshwater ecosystems and fish stocks.

It is worth noting that, my government has taken alternative policy interventions by promoting the aquaculture subsector as a way of creating resilience, growth and sustainability to our fishing industry.

Government is doing this by implementing the aquaculture enterprise development programme. This programme, which is targeting 12,000 beneficiaries across the country, is empowering women and youths with skills in fish farming, value addition, trading and business administration. I am confident that fish farming has the potential to uplift our people from abject poverty and contribute to our economic growth, if we all take keen interest in it and tap on the opportunities being made available to our people.

Let me tell you about Mr. Cosmas Musonda Bwalya of Northern province who has been engaged in aquaculture for nearly twelve years now. He gets about 14,000 fish every six months from his seven ponds. This has dramatically changed his life for the better and created job opportunities for young men and women in his community. Such farmers give hope to those being trained now to take up fish farming. Many more Zambians can be like Mr. Cosmas Musonda Bwalya. Let us believe in ourselves.

Let me turn the attention of this August house to the livestock sub-sector. Sadly, we have experienced frequent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in some parts of the country. As worrisome as this is, the disease is being controlled through farmer sensitisation, vaccinations, movement restrictions and enforcement of biosecurity measures on farms. Government has also continued with epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, diagnosis of various diseases as well as facilitating the dipping of animals through provision of extension services to the farmers.

I strongly urge all our farmers to abide by animal disease control measures in order to curb the spread of diseases that directly affect the incomes of our people.

The house is further informed that, government has so far built 87 out of a projected target of 140 livestock service centres, as a way of enhancing the livestock subsector. What these centres are doing is providing various services, which include vaccination, dipping and branding, to our farmers. We have also rehabilitated and stocked 15 livestock breeding centres to improve the nation’s animal breeds.

In terms of climate smart livestock production technologies, we are implementing a climate resilient livestock management project in Muchinga and Northern provinces. This project is promoting climate smart livestock production technologies, involving improved pastures, animal health service delivery and manure management. In the same project areas, we are stocking and restocking dairy cattle and small ruminants. Further, we have also constructed three milk processing plants in Mpika, Kasama and Mbala to strengthen the value chain.

Let me now draw the house’s attention to the mining subsector, which has been part of our strong economic base. It is for this reason that my government is determined to ensuring that mining continues to thrive at all levels. This is despite the current copper production levels in the mines not being favourable. But bear in mind, a downward trend is not a bleak situation. When in one area, ther is seemingly a downward trend, in another area there is an upward trend. Let us look at this in a little more detail.

During the first half of 2019, copper production and earnings declined by 5.3 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively. The decrease is attributed mainly to low ore grade, suspension of some mining operations, operational challenges and depleting ore reserves at old mines.

On the other hand, production of emeralds increased by 34 percent from 9,475.55 kilogrammes during the first half of 2018 to 12,696.2 kilogrammes in the corresponding period in 2019. Similarly, manganese production increased from 33,471 tonnes in 2018 to 57,528 tonnes in the respective period in 2019.

Another notable development in the mining sector in 2019 is the commencement of production at munali nickel mine which had been on care and maintenance since 2011. The mine is targeting a monthly production of 60,000 metric tonnes of nickel concentrates. The resumption of operations at the Munali nickel mine is good news to the local economy and to our people who have pinned their hopes on the success of this mine. We expect this mine to sustain its production output and contribute to our economic growth.

Our country has an array of minerals including gold, which is now being seriously harnessed. Gold mining and production is critical in supporting our economic diversification and job creation. For the country to maximise its benefits from gold production there is need to continue promoting investment in exploration and strengthen regulatory enforcement capacity.

Very soon, you will be seeing the clear direction which my government is taking in enhancing gold mining and production, as I have directed the ministry of mines and other relevant ministries to provide a clear development framework for the gold mining industry. Where there are cross-cutting issues, relevant ministries will work together to ensure all areas are dealt with, be it land surface use in these mining areas, settlement of communities living in these areas, value addition to the gold mining industry as well are putting in place all legislation that will adequately govern the industry. Remember, my government is managing for results, by doing more with less.

Government’s determination in promoting the participation of more economic players, particularly locals, along mining value chains, cannot be over-emphasised. We will continue prioritising the development of small scale mining and design specific measures to grow this sub-sector. Particular attention will be paid to gemstones, gold and the mining of industrial minerals. We will also continue to insist on getting a fair share from our mineral resources.

Much as the contribution of mining to our economy is laudable, we should not lose sight of the fact that unregulated mining activities do a lot of harm to our environment. This is particularly so if the use and disposal of chemicals is left unchecked, pollution of water bodies is left undetected, carbon emission levels are not capped and reforestation is not promoted in former or disused mining areas. I urge all regulatory agencies to enforce the existing laws and regulations.

The tourism sector is another sector of our economy that generates revenue for our GDP growth. Many tourism activities are weather dependant and, by extension, influenced by climate change. Climate change has reduced water levels and is affecting tourist visits to natural attractions such as waterfalls, water sporting events and traditional ceremonies such as the Kuomboka ceremony.

I am, therefore, glad to report that the diversification of the tourism sector is on course. We have seen an increase in hosting of international conferences and sporting activities.

We are now growing into a medical tourism hub of specialised medical services. This has been made possible by infrastructure improvement and development which has helped our facilities meet international standards.

I am proud to also mention that our Zambian medical doctors are well skilled and have handled complex medical operations, which had never been undertaken in the country before. Furthermore, whilst earning revenue from this industry, we are equally cutting costs of having to send our people for specialised medical attention outside the country, which can now be undertaken in Zambia. Let us give ourselves a pat on the back for this team effort.

While still on the subject of tourism, we also recently had legacy tourism such as the commemoration of 100 years of the end of the second world war held in Mbala, Northern province. Many of us learnt of interesting and proud history of our country, knowing that the second world war actually ended in Mbala, in the Northern province of Zambia. We also witnessed the David Livingstone memorial celebrations in Livingstone and Chitambo. These activities attracted a lot of tourists and raised revenue for our country.

There is a concept called eco-tourism, which is tourism that both conserves the environment and contributes to economic diversification. The Mukuni environmental and economic development trust in Livingstone is an example of eco-tourism where the participation of the traditional leaders, private sector and individuals is also alleviating poverty. Another example of eco-tourism is the south Luangwa national park which, as you may all recall, was declared an international sustainable wildlife park by the united nations world tourism organisation in 2017.

Community participation is key to wildlife conservation and keeping land in its natural state as well as job creation. To this effect, we are increasing the number of community conservancies. These have been established in north-western and Copperbelt provinces, these conservancies are wholly owned and managed by the communities themselves and are assisting in developing wildlife-based economies in these communities.

Fellow citizens, these are some of the ways to be resilient to climate change, to be economically sustainable and to attain fiscal stability and restore growth. To the media houses and all other stakeholders, let us promote Zambian tourism positively and vigorously. It is an economic hub; it is our natural heritage. Marketing is indeed the key.

Energy is a key enabler to economic diversification and job creation. In view of the negative impact of climate change, government is making steady progress in reducing the dominance of hydro-electricity in the energy mix by increasing the contribution of alternative energy sources such as solar. We are also considering wind and nuclear energy. Currently, hydro constitutes 80 percent of all the electricity generated, which was at 99 percent a few years ago. This reduction is mainly on account of the additional non-hydro power sources.

One such non-hydro power source is the Bangweulu and Ngonye power plants under the scaling solar project in the Lusaka south multi-facility economic zone. These plants are supplying ZESCO with 90 megawatts, which is equivalent to powering more than 45,000 households. This is the first ever solar energy to feed into the national electricity grid in the country.

To further promote investment in renewable energy, government has developed the national renewable energy resource atlas focusing on solar and wind. The atlas is an invaluable source of information on solar and wind availability for power generation. I encourage would-be investors to make use of this resource and invest in renewable energy.

Access to electricity is improving. I am glad to report that zesco is now supplying electricity to over one million customers compared to 900,000 in 2018. To further increase generation capacity to support the growing demand, various power projects are on-going. These include Kafue gorge lower power station, Lusiwasi lower hydro power project and Batoka hydro power project.

My government’s industrialisation agenda has taken a turn for the better. The policy and regulatory environment is yielding results and the private sector is responding well to this conducive environment as evidenced by the investments being actualised in different parts of the country.

In May this year, I commissioned the Mansa sugar plant, a privately-owned investment in Chembe district of Luapula province, which has so far invested 50 million united states dollars. This facility has created over 1,500 direct and indirect jobs for our people.

Another notable investment is the global industries soya bean crushing plant, which has created 300 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs on the Copperbelt. In addition, the china national building materials company is operational and has so far created 400 jobs in Lusaka. This investment will, at its peak, create 2,500 jobs for our people.

The multi-facility economic zones in Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces have so far attracted private investment in excess of 2.5 billion united states dollars and created more than 9,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector as at end of 2018.

This is what we mean by creating a conducive business environment, which the private sector has positively responded to. I urge these investors to ensure that they pursue sustainable production practices to support government policy on climate change. I would also like to urge all private and public sector enterprises to abide by our labour laws and treat workers in a dignified manner.

Focusing on trade, the value of merchandise trade declined from 9.3 billion united states dollars in the first half of 2018 to 7.6 billion united states dollars in the first half of 2019. However, as a result of the efforts being made by government to diversify the economy, the performance of our non-traditional exports increased by 17.2 percent. In addition, the country recorded a positive trade balance of 248.5 million united states dollars in the first half of the year.

To transform Zambia into a regional transport hub by 2028, government has developed the 2019 national transport policy, which provides for intermodal transport systems comprising road, air, rail, water and pipeline. It also provides for rural transport development as well as greater use of information and communication technologies in the transport systems.

Government has continued to implement road construction programmes to achieve sustainable transport networks. The Lusaka decongestion project, which is redesigning the major road network for the city of Lusaka with a view to reducing traffic jams, travel time, travel distance and saving fuel, is one such project.

Progress in air transport infrastructure development is being recorded. The upgrading of the kenneth kaunda international airport is now at 84 percent, compared to the 75 percent I reported in September, 2018. On the copperbelt international airport, works are now at 43 percent as compared to 13 percent last year.

To attain universal access to telecommunication networks and internet access in unserved and underserved areas, construction of communication towers under phase two of the telecommunications towers project is progressing well. We have now installed 667 towers out of the 1,009 targeted. This is an increase from the 318 towers which I reported last year.

Water is an extremely valuable resource; a life’s necessity. To respond to depleting water resources caused by the effects of climate change, government has put in place interventions such as construction of water harvesting infrastructure and regulation of ground water resources. Dams are being constructed across the country with a total capacity of eight million cubic metres. We are equally rehabilitating existing dams to restore storage capacity.

Currently, the second phase of the national rural water supply and sanitation programme for the period 2016 to 2030 and the national urban water supply and sanitation programme for the period 2011 to 2030 is actively being implemented. These water supply and sanitation programmes are aimed at providing water and sanitation infrastructure in both rural and urban areas.

In 2018, a total of 1,168 boreholes were constructed and equipped with hand pumps across the country and 225 boreholes have been constructed and equipped with hand pumps in 2019 so far. Another intervention by government in 2018, is the implementation of seven rural water schemes, supplying clean and safe water to about 33,500 people. Members of this August house, my government is working, it is a working government indeed.

The action by government to register boreholes has been put in place to promote and monitor the sustainable use of water and guard against its pollution and depletion. Since introduction of the programme, over 29,000 boreholes have been registered as at August 2019. With this monitoring, government is able to save, harness and ensure prudent use of this water. We all have a role to play in safeguarding this precious life saving resource.

To build resilience and provide sustainable development among the poor and vulnerable people in the midst of the new phenomenon of climate change, government has continued to increase the coverage of social protection interventions, especially in rural areas. We are supporting women, children, the aged, unemployed youths and persons with disabilities, to reach and maintain an adequate standard of living and good health throughout their lives. We are doing this by promoting income security as well as access to healthcare and education services.

To enhance coordination, efficiency and transparency in the management and disbursement of social protection programmes, government has developed an electronic based system, the Zambia integrated social protection information system. This biometric based system will minimise human interface, which has in the past caused challenges for the recipients to receive the social protection in good time.

In my address last September, I informed this August house that the social security coverage under the national pension scheme authority had been extended to include those in the informal economy. I am glad to report that 4,807 workers in the informal economy registered with the national pension scheme authority in 2018 while an additional 13,899 registered between January and June, 2019.

We want our people to move from perpetual dependency to sustainable living and it is for this reason that my government is putting in place systems and policies that will enable our people, whether in formal employment or retired to access financial support to be independent and live decent lives.

Inequality poses a serious threat to the attainment of sustainable development. The rural-urban divide, gender inequality and income disparities are still prevalent in our country. Bridging the rural-urban divide is part of our developmental agenda. The provision of infrastructure and services such as roads and electricity, agricultural schemes and centres, health and social facilities as has been alluded are among the measures in place.

In July this year, I launched a five-year improved rural connectivity project to facilitate the rehabilitation and maintenance of selected rural roads. Priority roads will be done in Central, Eastern, Luapula, Northern, Muchinga and Southern provinces, covering a total of 3,375 kilometres.

Currently, if you observe, around the country, government continues with the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of feeder roads. From 2018 to date, more than 1,000 kilometres of rural roads have been constructed and rehabilitated. This is practical and verifiable.

Additional to these 1000 kilometres, 247 kilometres of the itezhi tezhi – kalomo road, through namwala, ngoma and dundumwezi, has so far been upgraded into a climate resilient road. By a climate resilient road, we mean a road that can withstand the changing climatic conditions without damaging the infrastructure. Going forward, this is a model we will replicate in other parts of the country.

Our rural farmers are now producing value-added goods, using mechanized techniques in the businesses and have expanded their variety of goods and services. Additionally, more than 29,000 jobs have been created so far under the value chain development programme.

Some factors that have made this possible are; the rehabilitation and maintenance of feeder roads, improving access to markets, reducing their travel time and costs; another factor is the continued implementation of the citizen’s economic empowerment programme, helping citizens access funding for investment. 34 percent of these funds have been disbursed to women-owned enterprises, 28 percent to youth-owned businesses and persons with disabilities.

To increase access to electricity for rural communities in the country, government has been implementing the rural electrification programme. To date, 26,754 households have been connected to electricity under this programme. With this performance, we are on track to achieving our goal of increasing access to electricity in rural areas. Going forward, we want more low income households to be connected to electricity. Further, government in partnership with the private sector, will increase access to electricity through the renewable energy production project.

To further reduce the rural-urban divide, we are promoting investments in different parts of the country through provincial investment expositions. These expositions are yielding results, with many investors following up on their pledges. In selected cases, work has already started as evidenced by green crop field limited that has acquired land in Chibombo district for a 72 million United States Dollars investment to produce paprika and other products. Another investor in central province is working on a 10 million united states dollars dam in order to bring more land under irrigation.

In the same light of reducing developmental inequalities, my government continues to address the issue of gender inequality, as we take into cognisance that women and girls are marginalised and bear the heaviest burden of poverty and vulnerability. Therefore, the support system in this area by government through the girls’ education and women’s empowerment and livelihood project is ongoing.

From 2017 to date, 34,123 vulnerable but viable women have been provided with life and business skills, as well as a productivity grant. This is against the target of reaching 75,000 women by the end of the project in 2020.

The keeping girls in school project has equally continued, and the number of girls aged between 14 and 18 years from poor households being supported under the project increased from 15,082 in 2018 to 19,486 as of June, 2019. This number is expected to increase to 26,160 girls by the end of this year.

Enhancing human development cannot be down-played if we are to have an educated, healthy and progressive population. Currently, implementation of various programmes in the education and health sectors for instance, have been affected by the effects of climate change. Depending on how quickly we adapt and become resilient to these changes, the negative impact is likely to increase.

In the education sector, we have all seen how our children especially those in rural areas have failed to attend classes due to floods, drought, hunger, blown off roofs and washed away bridges.

School attendance is equally affected by the prevalence of waterborne diseases, malnutrition and malaria. Another growing challenge is inability by parents of these pupils, who are small-scale farmers to pay for their children’s education as a result of poor yields in agriculture due to droughts and floods.

Education is an essential element of the global response to climate change, as it creates an opportunity for our people to understand and address the impact of this phenomenon. It encourages attitude and behavioural change as well as help us in adapting and being resilient.

My government remains resonate to continuing enhancing human development, which is the cornerstone of any nation’s development. Government’s policies on building more schools, providing free primary education, continuous recruitment of trained and qualified teachers, is a must to provide a conducive learning environment at all levels.

This year, at secondary school level, government, reduced school fees to allow for increased access to education by children from low income families, particularly those in rural areas.

Improving the quality of learning is another important aspect in the provision of education. For instance, understanding the concept of climate change, financial literacy and developmental strategies must be inculcated at a tender age for any nation to have continuous sustainable development. These aspects are either being enhanced or incorporated in the education curriculum framework by my government.

Government is implementing several equity programmes that strive to include the vulnerable learners. The home grown school-feeding programme, which is an integral part of this initiative, is being implemented in 2,618 schools in 39 districts across the country. This programme has significantly increased attendance and retention of learners.

Sustainable development can only be achievable in the midst of a healthy nation. Our human activities can affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and our hygienic living surroundings. We must therefore all play a role in ensuring these aspects are conducive for all of us to live healthily. It becomes a cost to our nation if we mis-manage our water resources, inappropriately dispose our waste, or even pollute our environment. Ultimately we negatively contribute to the environment at large and the climatic conditions of the universe.

The negative ripple effects to human development is on our health, leading to a great cost on our health systems. Government remains focused on building a healthy nation and developing a resilient health care system in the midst of challenges.

In our constitution under the national values and principles, there is one principle, which relates to promoting public consciousness on sustainable development. The application of this principle is important in our stewardship of the environment. This principle coupled with the values and principles on morality, patriotism and integrity reinforces our positive cultural practices and indigenous knowledge necessary to address climate change.

We need to reinforce our positive cultural practices in our interaction with the environment. We need to desist from throwing litter out of car windows, in drainages and on the streets. We need to stop the indiscriminate cutting down of trees as well as burning of grass and rubbish.

We can all make a difference in our own small ways. Whether it is switching off lights, when you are not in a room, or carrying a basket when you go shopping as opposed to using plastic carrier bags. Let us dispose of waste appropriately. Let us make it our responsibility to plant more trees. These seemingly little practices will go a long way in safeguarding our environment for future generations. It all starts with you and me.

Notwithstanding this, government has heightened surveillance and response, increased public awareness as well as increased resource mobilisation in health care and health care systems. We have made remarkable progress in maternal health, reducing maternal mortality ratio from 398 per 100,000 live births in 2014 to 278 per 100,000 live births in 2018.

In child health systems, the under five mortality rate has also reduced from 75 per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 61 per 1,000 live births in 2018. The number of under-five children who were stunted, underweight or wasted, reduced as well. Further, the malaria incidence reduced from 374 per 1,000 persons in 2017 to 312 per 1,000 persons in 2018.

With regard to universal routine hiv testing, government has scaled up the programme, resulting in an increase in hiv testing uptake. Currently, 1,020,913 people are on anti-retroviral therapy, comprising 949,856 adults and 49,057 children.

Government has noted, with concern, the continued increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases, which currently, account for approximately 23 percent of all deaths in the country. We are, therefore, encouraging people to adopt healthy lifestyles through wellness programmes and health education. I would like to urge leaders in this August house to become champions of healthy lifestyles through wellness programmes.

To further foster this campaign, the employment code act no. 3 of 2019 compels all employers to come up with health and wellness policies in all their institutions. I will actively pursue this to ensure that it is being adhered to by finding time to exercise with various organisations consistently.

I have continuously informed this August house on government’s policy direction of improving access to quality health care, through rehabilitation, upgrade and construction of health facilities countrywide. This is one area we are all able to attest to and will indeed continue to back this with provision of medical equipment and drugs.

In keeping with the zero tolerance policy on medicines and medical supplies stock-outs, government has continued to establish regional storage hubs. So far, five have been constructed and are operational. Further, the upgrading of the Lusaka medical stores warehouse into an ultra-modern facility, in order to enhance efficiency in the supply chain and provide security in stock management, has been completed, increasing storage capacity from 7,000 to 32,000 pallets.

Government will not end here, moving forward, interventions that guarantee a healthy and educated population such as construction of climate resilient health and education infrastructure, provision of emergency services and strengthening of early warning systems will all be put in place.

Pillar 5 – creating a conducive governance environment for a diversified and inclusive economy

A conducive governance environment is critical for achieving sustainable development even in the midst of the effects of climate change.

Good governance cannot be left to chance. This important ingredient of democracy starts with the supreme law of the law of the land, the constitution. My government has demonstrated to the Zambian people that we are indeed a government that can be trusted to deliver on our promises. Successful governments have come and gone, yet the constitutional making process, remained a process.

I am on record of having asked the citizen and various stakeholders to read the draft of the constitution before it was finally enacted by this house. Politicians and various interest groups rose to the occasion to have the current constitution enacted in its current form. We braved the storm to deliver a revised constitution to the Zambian people, even at the risk of losing power. This selfless act on our part is reason enough that I appeal to all to support the current process. Yes, we are back once more on the process of refining it, for my government is a listening government.

As we support this process we should all be mindful that a good constitution allows for subsequent legislation to provide the details of governing the country in all the various sectors. A delay in the conclusion of the constitutional making process is a delay in the implementation of subsequent legislation of our land that leads to prosperity.

I have and will continue to emphasize the importance of all public institutions to operate on systems that stand on integrity, accountability, and seriously adhere to good governance principles. Today, I am saying government will run on the mantra of “producing results, by doing more with less.” This mantra will be result oriented and I do not expect less than the best from all public workers.

I have directed my secretary to cabinet, under his leadership, to ensure principles, policies and actions are result oriented in the midst of fiscal constraints. We must all re-adjust to the new mantra, with a firm belief that when we tighten our belts for a period of time, always work prudently and be implementors, nothing is impossible to see our nation rise like a phoenix out of the ashes.

Our citizens need all our concerted efforts; our future generation needs our active participation now. Our nation needs this generation to see to it that we flourish way beyond where we are today.

For this reason, I will not relent on the fight against corruption. I will not stand and see greedy citizens destroy the good fiber of our nation. Indeed, I will not expect government, under my charge, fail to provide for the people of Zambia.

With regard to foreign policy, my government has continued to focus on political and economic diplomacy as well as strengthening Zambia’s interaction with the international community for sustainable development. Reinforcing our bilateral relations with partner countries around the globe and playing a more decisive role in the international organisations where we have membership is cardinal.

Let us remember that the world is increasingly becoming a global village and that no man is an island. We therefore need to continuously engage to be relevant, abreast with changing times, especially as the world grapples with the issues surrounding climate change.

Last month, Zambia became the host for the sustainable development goals sub-regional centre for Southern Africa. We will use this privilege to build regional consensus and a united response to common challenges in attaining sustainable development, including climate change.

I fully subscribe to the notion that the best way to predict the future is to create it. Together with my government, we are determined to build a climate resilient economy and safeguard what is ours as a nation. We will do whatever it takes to deliver the development our people rightly deserve and crave for. Challenges are a passing phase. There are there to be overcome and we shall overcome them together.

Our own constitution under article 43 (1) (c), states and I quote, “a citizen shall protect and conserve the environment and utilize natural resources in a sustainable manner”, end of quote. We must all, therefore, take necessary steps to contribute to creating a climate resilient economy. This is not for government alone. We are in this together. Individuals and communities, civil society and faith-based organisations and the corporate world.

Let us think sustainable development; let us think environment; let us think climate change. More importantly, let us act for a better Zambia now!

The ability to achieve is in this house and indeed outside. “alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” These are words of Hellen Keller, an author, political activist, lecturer, and the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. If a person both deaf and blind can believe in the spirit of team work, and advocate for it, how much, and how many more persons, with that kind of positive mentality can achieve greater heights for our nation?

May God bless us all. May God bless our great nation, Zambia.

Seeing this *** depresses me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How the ***did we end up with him when all the pointers spelt disaster!!!!!!!!!!!

All those good achievements gone in drain…

Nobody is interested in reading, hearing or seeing that fire-truck couple.

Ba Edgar you messed up yourself. Fuuuck the speech.

Since you are displaying your so-called wife, we deserve to know that family being tormented by gang of Kaizer.

Lets now know your family,

Who is Dalitso’s father? He is 40 years old.

Who is Tasila’s mother?

Why they call Tasila as oldest child of Ba Edgar, but we know he has grandchildren. Where did those grand children come from?

And what has your father achived in his life? You? With a useless English and bad manners.

Lusaka clowns next time you delete my comment please add a not to explain which rules and code of conduct I have broken to warrant deleting my comments. I have a lot of fans here and put lots of thoughts into these things. Please next time ensure to give full explanation. I can unblock myself and not am working on recovering deleted comments here. X

Even if you hate someone insulting him on social media is bad. Try to be mature even if you are not……

Freedom of speech. Who are you to judge him ? What crime has he committed. Calling some one an idlot is not a crime especially if it is true

People with nothing to offer will not see any sense in anything. I have come to realise that most of the comments here are just out of hatred and nothing more.

@NE.EZ tell these bastards. How is your Lisa, your lovely white woman? Tell these low lifes.

First of all, LT is not a “Social Media”. LT is a serious platform. We run the country here. Again, go fuuck yourselves in social media.

Who hates who? Be specific. Listen you styupid idyots…

We like Ba Edgar.

We hate Kaizer.

We don’t just RESPECT Ba Ester anymore…. she messed up herself by joining the abusive civil servants to go and receive Firetrucks we have never even seen put out any fire.

I used to like that couple when they danced “Dununa reserve”. But where can they dance now? Not even in parliament.

Lungu is very good at finger pointing the Problems but very weak at providing solutions. Climate Change didn’t cause Corruption, lack of Respect for Constitutionalism, Rule of Law, bad Governance and violation of Human Rights in Zambia. Climate change didn’t increase Zambia’s Debt. U can’t reduce Govt Total Expenditures when u are buying expensive Planes to Globe Trot the World carrying Friends dealing in Mandrax. The speech is depressing and not providing solutions to our Problems.

“Google has been adding plenty of new features to Google Maps over the year, most of them meant to improve navigation and commute experiences. The latest feature, however, is a lot more helpful than just providing directions to a new destination. Google Maps will now show users drug addiction recovery resources on the map — and yes, provide navigation data if needed.” While our government Engaging us in rationale speeches.

Rationale: means either an explanation of a thought process or an excuse to justify something.

Lungu is living in Utopia.On Bill 10 People have already spoken against the Bill so it must be withdrawn in its entirety. After LAZ, BOZ, ECZ, Churches, Political Parties, NGOS, Legal Associations, ZCTU etc have Spoken against the Bill how does Lungu expect MPs to vote in favour of the Bill? Lungu and PF needs a 2/3 Majority Vote in Parliament to pass the Bill thru a Secret Ballot. He cannot get this Bill approved in Parliament under the circumstances. To save face the Lungu Govt should withdraw this Entire Notorious Bill from Parliament.

This speech is a very worrying admission of failures for which no inspiring strategy is outlined. Particularly worrying is the insistence of the so called “refining” of the constitution without due regard to the absence of the required mandate to change the constitution! The constitution is not a priority at the moment! What needs addressing is the nose-diving economy! What is even more worrying is the lip service being paid to the so called Austerity measures! BOZ has already put it on record that these chaps are not serious!

Ba Lungu, its sad to read through this report. You have failed and sitting there when you don’t have solutions, is sinking the country further. Learn from Nyerere of Tanzania. When he saw more potholes getting wider and wider, he stepped down so that another person with fresh ideas can take over. He was honoured for that and kept his motorcade. You a shame. Why do you ignore advice that you are constantly given by HH. Our party could have benefitted

Nkosavuta kukamba please… Ati “let us make it our responsibility” and what of government and presidential responsibility? Maybe is an evolution of excuses from “ni global” to “ni ma climate”. We are looking forward to the action to support the speech anyway, surprises are possible please

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