PRESIDENT Banda says the US$2.5 billion (about K12trillion) in national reserves is a sign that Zambia’s economy is growing.
Mr Banda said Government will remain committed to ensuring that Zambia becomes a middle-income country by 2014.
“This country’s macro economy is growing so fast.
Believe me, we are headed to be a developed country by 2030 and all this is anchored on the Vision 2030,” Mr Banda said.
The President said this in a speech read on his behalf by Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix Mutati during a dinner for exhibitors at this year’s Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF) at Savoy Hotel in Ndola on Friday.
Mr Banda said the private sector has continued to register growth because of the strong economy.
He said jobs are not best created by Government but by the private sector.
“When I was touring stands at the fair, Chilanga Cement announced to me that they are increasing their production by almost 50 percent and I ran out of words because something serious must be happening in this country,” Mr Banda said.
The President has since urged Zambians to ensure that this year’s general elections are held in a peaceful manner for the country to continue registering growth in the economy.
Mr Banda said because of economic growth, Zambia has been rated as one of the top 10 performers globally.
He said Government has embarked on infrastructure development because of the good economic performance.
“In my inauguration speech in 2008, I affirmed my commitment to infrastructure development and before the end of the year, we will be witnessing the opening of the first international standard stadium just here in Ndola,” Mr Banda said.
He said he was informed by Minister of Works and Supply Gabriel Namulambe that another stadium is soon to be constructed in Lusaka.
“Maybe the reason why the Chipolopolo have not been qualifying for the World Cup is because of lack of a proper stadium but now they will have no excuse,” he said, jokingly.
Mr Banda said it is not fair for people to think that the development projects that Government has embarked on are campaign strategies when everyone is benefitting.
The President said Government does not want anyone to suffer and that is why it is empowering people with loans and houses.
“Just today, I almost shed tears at ZAFFICCO when a Mr Musonda told me that he will die a happy man because he will actually be a landlord and not a tenant,” he said.
Mr Banda urged Zambian exhibitors at the Trade Fair, especially small and medium entrepreneurs, to dream big.
Meanwhile, President Banda says Government is committed to alleviating poverty in the country.
Mr Banda said Government is ready to fight poverty through many programmes it is running countrywide.
“We need to have confidence in ourselves, do not listen to doom speakers saying we have failed to address poverty in the country when we are doing our level best to fight poverty,” Mr Banda said.
The President was speaking in Ndola yesterday during a luncheon hosted by Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) at Mukuba Hotel.
Mr Banda said he noticed that every Zambian has a desire to get out of poverty and Government will continue to put measures in place to eradicate poverty.
“Our desire is to see to it that every Zambian is out of poverty, we need to have good roads, modern airports and stadiums,” Mr Banda said.
And the President urged Zambians to use their votes ‘wisely’ during this year’s general elections.
Mr Banda said Zambians should also prove wrong people wishing violence in the country during the elections.
“Let’s prove them wrong by ensuring that we have peaceful elections, let Zambians decide who should be their leader,” Mr Banda said.
The President said elections should not divide the country and that the elections should be anchored on peace and unity.
And speaking earlier, PACRA board chairman William Nyirenda commended Government for introducing policies aimed at lowering the cost of doing business.
Mr Nyirenda said there is need for business people to be innovative and competitive.
He also said that PACRA has reduced the period in which it issues certificates. Mr Nyirenda said it now takes two days for a certificate to be issued.
He also said that PACRA will soon decentralise operations throughout the country.
Mr Nyirenda said the agency will work with councils to take the services closer to the people.
“Our goal is to have our services online so that things can be done easily and quickly,” Mr Nyirenda said.
Meanwhile, President Banda has urged local business entities to be innovative and partner with foreign investors in joint ventures.
Mr Banda said Government will also remain open to go into joint ventures with foreign investors looking for business in the country.
“Our support to the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs does not end with policy, we have gone a further step and put in place a preferential procurement scheme for companies which also makes joint ventures attractive,” Mr Banda said.
The President was speaking in Ndola yesterday during the official opening of this year’s 47th Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Mr Banda said the progress Zambia is making in all the sectors is as a result of hard work underpinned by the prudent economic and social policies implemented by Government.
The President said Zambia has made a lot of progress in economic and social welfare in the past years and that more work must be done in order to meet basic requirements.
He also said in order for Zambia to become an investment hub for the region, there is need not to neglect local investors.
“I would like to see the trade fair become an event where the Zambian entrepreneurs showcase their innovation in value addition,” Mr Banda said.
The President said government has since prioritised value addition with a focus on developing the micro, small and medium enterprises.
And Mr Banda said there is need for Zambian goods to become competitive in both quality and pricing.
He said Government is aware of the challenges faced by the private sector, which has constrained innovation and competitiveness.
The President said the current global economic environment demands for innovation and competitiveness, which can help to sustain economic growth of the country.
“My government is addressing some of the challenges by implementing policies and reforms aimed at reducing the cost of doing business and creating an enabling environment for competitiveness,” Mr Banda said.
The President also said the enactment of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act was meant to create an environment where competitiveness is guaranteed while protecting the welfare and rights of the consumer.
And Mr Banda said Government will continue to improve key infrastructure in the country.
He said in the next five years Government will invest heavily in the education sector.
Mr Banda also commended both local and foreign exhibitors at this year’s fair.
And speaking earlier, ZITF board chairman Phesto Musonda said this year’s fair attracted more foreign and local exhibitors compared to last year.
Mr Musonda said there is need for business people to be innovative and competitive if their businesses are to be successful.
He also urged both local and foreign exhibitors to consider joint ventures in order for their business to grow.
“The fair must help to establish joint ventures that can help to expand the business,” Mr Musonda said.
He also called for modernising of the trade fair stands through Private Public Partnership.
And Zesco Limited won the best overall exhibitor at the fair with Kenya also winning the international exhibitors ward.
Other companies that won awards include Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company, Ndola Lime, Necor, Zambeef and Silvia Catering Services, which won two awards Zanaco won the Best Exhibitor Award in the banking sector.