1. Today is a special day. The day when I open the first session of the twelfth national assembly. This day gives me as 6th president of the republic of Zambia and president of the patriotic front a full 5-year mandate in this August house. I am therefore honoured to be here.
Let me now take this solemn opportunity to call the house to a minute of silence in honour of departed veteran parliamentarian, Hon. Request Muntanga who died towards the end of the previous session of parliament.
2. Let me start by expressing my profound congratulations to you and the deputy speakers on your election to guide the affairs of this house. The responsibility placed upon your shoulders following your election is enormous. But I am confident that you are all equal to the task, and will therefore discharge your duties in a diligent, objective and impartial manner.
3. Let me also congratulate all members of parliament on your well-deserved election and nomination to this house. The Zambian people expect us to discharge our duties with humility, dignity and distinction.
4. It is, therefore, our responsibility as members of parliament to live up to their expectations. Our debates on the floor must resonate with the issues that matter the most to the electorate, who have sent us here.
5. The amended constitution of Zambia act no 2 of 2016 provides that the president shall address this August house twice a year. I will therefore return to the house early next year for the second state of the nation address on the progress made in the application of the national values and principles.
6. Our focus for the next five years will be premised on the developmental milestones that my administration shall endeavour to achieve in line with the 7th national development plan, whose focus will be to achieve a resilient and diversified economy.
7. Our efforts to move the economy from its current heavy dependance on copper, to one based on agriculture, livestock and fisheries and their entire value chain will continue in a more robust manner. We have five years, not a lot of time but enough time to do some decent work upon which the pf shall seek a fresh manadate in 2021.
8. Arising from this developmental focus, my administration will place high proirity on industrialising the economy to create more jobs and wealth for our people. We can only share wealth not poverty and therefore we must all rise to this challenge and create enough wealth for all of us to share.
9. I look forward to having a Zambian economy where we shall use our raw materials from crops such as groundnuts, soyabeans and sunflower and process them into, peanut butter, cooking oil, and stockfeed for our local market as well as for exports.
10. Our country is surrounded by eight countries, which are viable markets for our agricultural products. This is a unique geographical opportunity, which we should utilise to our advantage.
11. In my last address to this house, I spoke at length on the need for us as a country to embrace a transformational culture for a smart Zambia. I called upon each and every Zambian to change the way we do things; to be innovative and to embrace technology to quicken the provision of services.
12. I also called for long-term planning; promoting high productivity and embracing cost effective operations in government to eliminate waste and abuse of public resources.
13. The theme of my address this morning is, therefore, is:
“building an integrated multi-sectoral approach to development that enhances inclusiveness in development without leaving anyone behind”.
14. This entails doing more with less by creating linkages between various sectors and building upon each sectors’ comparative advantage. For example, if we improve the water and sanitation system, we will reduce the disease burden arising from water-borne and communicable diseases and spare the resources to be used in other areas of development.
15. The appraoch to my address this morning, is moving away from the usual thematic lines based on stand alone sectoral approach, to an integrated multi-sectoral approach, which endeavours to build synergies across sectors. This is with a view to ensuring that developmental outcomes mutually reinforce each other.
16. It is against this background that my administration introduced the ministry of development planning to effectively coordinate various sectors and strengthen synergies among government ministries.
17. My administration will create an atmosphere where sectors will simultaneously work together to resolve developmental challenges such as youth unemployment and high levels of poverty, by harnessing our youthful population into a productive one. This entails that the youths must embrace innovation and entreprenuership, advanced technologies and actively participate in the economy.
18. My administration remains committed to the achievement of the vision 2030 of Zambia becoming a prosperous middle income country. We also re-affirm our commitment to the attainment of the united nations sustainable development goals and the African union agenda 2063.
19. I now wish to deal with some of the issues affecting our country. In doing so, I will outline key policy measures and programmes that my administration will pursue next year and beyond. These will be outlined in greater detail in the seventh (7th) national development plan (2017-2021), which I will soon launch.
20. My government will continue to undertake austerity measures to stabilise the macro economic situation and build greater investor confidence. Further, we will ensure that our macro economic policies are consistent and predictable, to enable the public and private sector plan effectively in the medium and long-term.
21. In the next five years, the broad macro-economic objectives of my administration will include achieving double-digit gross domestic product growth, attaining single-digit inflation rate and increasing and broadening domestic revenue collection.
22. Further, government will continue to ensure that the public debt remains sustainable in order to increase the fiscal space and create room for development financing.
Agriculture and industrialisation
23. The agriculture sector, fisheries and livestock will be the main focus around which other sectors will be developed in an integrated manner under the seventh national development plan. Agriculture will therefore be the major priority of our economic diversification agenda.
24. The rural population in particular, derives its livelihood on and off the land. It is from agriculture that school fees are paid, health bills are met, and it is agriculture that puts food on the table. Agriculture is, therefore, a key lever for improving rural livelihoods. To this end, we will focus on boosting agricultural production, enhancing productivity and increasing earnings for our farmers. We have to make agriculture a real business venture even for small-scale and peasant farmers.
25. We must look closely at the agriculture supply chain and in order to make as much capital out of all the produce harvested by hardworking people in diverse parts of the country. Every crop takes a tremendous amount of investment from planting to harvesting.
26. The challenge is how to create opportunities for the hardworking farmers, so that they can increase their income and truly prosper. How can we position the farmers to engage in the market place and thereby the economy? How can we strengthen the producer-consumer links in agriculture? How can we help our farmers and the agriculture sector in general to attain value addition on the way to market?
27. The solution is to found when farmers can aggregate, and produce reliable volumes. This means, they are more likely to sell, and they are less likely to lose supply contracts because they fail to hit quantity and quality targets.
Helping farmers to aggregate and store and linking them to markets can lead to more opportunity for farmers to produce more and earn more. This means we must now seriously look at building for every small and medium scale farmer, a well structured path from the field to market, processor, exporter and importer, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer and consumer. The sector will need to become sustainable through access to clean energy, affordable financing, and links to market.
28. As a demonstration of our resolve to diversify the agriculture sector, our primary responsibility is to enhance the sectors’ capacity to achieve mass production and feed into the agro-manufacturing sub-sectors. To achieve this, we will steadfastly attract investment in farm mechanisation and introduce science and technology to stimulate production.
29. The majority of Zambian farmers, particularly small-scale farmers, have very low levels of mechanisation and usually depend on hand tools and rudimentary implements for cultivation. This poses a major hinderance to the expansion of land under cultivation and productivity. The use of the hand-held hoe for cultivation is now being discouraged in Africa because, among other disadvantages, it poses serious health risks to users. The au agenda on women participation on agriculture at the au summit in 2015 unveiled a major programme to banish the hoe to the meseum.
30. We have the potential to accelerate the contribution of agriculture to the gross domestic product (gdp). If this has to be achieved, it requires synergies to be made beyond the agriculture sector to include other sectors that will add value to its growth.
We have to look to science and technology, commerce trade and industry, energy, health, water development, research and development, including education and skills development as essesntial components of our envisioned green revolution in Zambia.
31. The era of operating in “silos” under my administration will be a thing of the past as it leads to fragmentation, waste of resources and ultimately leads to nowhere.
32. It is against this background that government directed the ministry responsible for national planning to ensure that the seventh national development plan is premised on the integrated multi– sectoral approach. Similarly, I expect the national budget to be responding and be aligned to the seventh national development plan, in line with the integrated multi-sectoral approach.
33. Given our abundant ground and surface water, the fisheries sub-sector has immense potential. We need to turn this potential into commercially viable projects that will uplift our people’s nutrition status and incomes. To this effect, my administration is encouraging the development of fisheries value chains in all communities with abundant water resources.
34. Government is expanding the fisheries sub-sector through the development of aquaculture. Government is promoting aquaculture parks in high potential zones. This measure is already bearing fruit as evidenced by the increase in fish production from 19,241 metric tonnes in 2014 to 22,713 metric tonnes in 2015, representing an 18 percent increase.
Job creation and industrialisation
35. In order to stimulate job creation through industrialisation and tackle high levels of poverty and unemployment government will develop an industrialisation policy, which will stipulate achievable outcomes.
36. In this regard, the minister responsible for industry will bring to this house, a new trade, investment and enterprise development bill. The principal intent of the bill will be to facilitate the growth of non-traditional exports, enterprise growth, and domestic and foreign direct investment. It will also support expanded investments through joint ventures and partnerships between local and foreign investors.
37. Diversification and industrialization are important strategies government will employ to attain sustainable economic growth. In my inauguration speech on 13th september 2016, I stressed the need for our country to diversify away from copper to agriculture and manufacturing among other sectors of the economy so as to create wealth and prosperity for all.
38. To this effect during the first term of the patriotic front administration, government established the industrial development corporation (idc) to spearhead the development of our country’s domestic industrial capacity, and in so doing, play a major role in creating jobs.
39. This intervention is consistent with industrialization strategies implemented by emerging economies such as singapore, china, malaysia and south korea. These countries have all created corporations equivalent to the idc in order to provide an additional source of revenue and be able to preserve the wealth of their countries for future generations.
40. In the next five years, my government will through the idc, target to create a total of one (1) million jobs in the growth areas of manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism and information and communications technology (ict) in line with the pf’s manifesto pledge on industrialization. Furthermore within the next 5 – 10 years, state owned enterprises are to be listed on the Lusaka stock exchange so as to ensure broader citizen economic empowerment.
41. As part of our industrialisation and job creation agenda, mining will continue to play a key role in our economic growth and diversification to maximise benefits from this sector.
42. Zambia possesses higher comparative advantages in mining, which has to be diversified away from copper to other precious minerals to include oil and gas exploration so as to mitigate against the changes in the prices of copper.
43. There is need to shift our mindset from the belief that we can only obtain higher growth from copper within the mining sector at the expense of other precious minerals whose prices at the international market are equally competitive.
44. In addition government will promote value addition in the sector with a view to obtain more benefits through processed products such as jewellery, cables, and other finished products, for use on the local and international markets.
45. Within the spirit of promoting an integrated approach to development, government will promote an environment aimed at promoting a productive relationship between the mines and mine suppliers to contribute to the growth of medium and small scale entreprenuers, to maximise on our job creation prospects.
46. In addition, government will put in place measures to strengthen mechanisms for monitoring production and export of minerals so as to improve tax collection from mining activities in the country. This will be done in a manner that will promote a partnership that will result in a win-win situation through tansparency and accountability on both government and the private sector.
47. The current situation of a grid based electricity supply is under stress, and with the unpredictable nature of our rainfall patterns, we will need to re-think electricity supply. Zambia must now pronounce clearly, that the nation’s energy strategy will be a combination of clean renewable energies alongside the grid. Energy independence must be a strategy for all areas of Zambia.
48. We are still in the wake of the unavoidable but disruptive load-shedding that the country has experienced since 2015. This energy crisis has played a part in our economic downturn over the past months. Energy independence for the nation, and also for as many Zambians as possible is now more than ever an important national goal. The character of the conversation around how we source energy, what type of energy we use, who owns that energy must now focus on ensuring that energy is cheap, abundant and reliable for as many Zambians as possible.
49. We must not wait until we are in another energy crisis before we act, instead we must bolster our position from now on and use it to situate ourselves in regard to renewable and clean energies. Access to energy creates a landscape of opportunities for people.
50. The pf government must demonstrate a strong commitment to the promotion of renewable forms, including solar and Biogas Energies. Zambia must urgently lay the foundation for a flourishing renewable energy industry. Zambia must create a path to energy independence. Energy poverty must end.
51. We are committed mr. Speaker to ensuring that energy security is assured in the short-to-the medium term. We are going to have a diversified energy mix including nuclear energy. In this regard, I am happy to announce that we have good progress with nuclear energy partners both at governmental and private sector level.
52. During my address last year, I outlined in significant detail the measures my administration was taking to address the energy crisis that had led to long hours of load shedding. This depressed industrial activity, constrained economic growth and made the lives of the Zambian people miserable.
53. I am glad to inform the house that the measures we took are bearing fruit. Load shedding has reduced from an average of eight hours to four hours per day. Irrespective of the fact that our people are better able to undertake their business activities in their barber shops, welding workshops, restaurants and hair salons, more still needs to be done.
54. This is because beyond the expanded activities in the mining sector and other areas of the economy, there has also been an increase in household electricity connectivity, all drawing from the same and almost static source of power. This will require my government to attract more investment in the electricity sub-sector.
55. Public investments in energy projects at the kafue gorge lower, lusiwasi, chishimba, and kariba north bank are on course and are expected to be completed on schedule. Our partners in the private sector have responded positively to the new policy environment. Over the next three years, investors, such as the ndola energy company, emco energy Zambia and maamba collieries will provide an additional 655 megawatts to the national grid.
56. Government has adopted innovative approaches aimed at increasing renewable energy generation. To this effect, government has launched the Zambia scaling solar project.
57. So far, construction works have advanced on the two solar plants of 50 megawatts each at the Lusaka south multi-facility economic zone, giving a total of 100 megawatts.
Business environment and competitiveness
58. To improve the business environment and enhance competitiveness, government will promote the use of efficient systems for business licensing and regulation. Our goal is to have a robust business environment, which promotes investment and competitiveness with limited bureaucracy.
59. My administration will promote the use of electronic services. We have already embarked on a programme to automate service provision and create platforms for sharing information. All this is being done in order to reduce the cost of doing business, promote transparency, increase productivity and eliminate opportunities for corruption.
60. One of the major impediments to growth of business and maintaning competitiveness in Zambia is limited access to finance. To improve our people’s access to finance, government will expedite the implementation of the movable property (security interest) act no. 3 of 2016 and the agricultural credit act no. 35 of 2010.
61. The acts provide for the use of movable assets, such as equipment, inventory, agricultural produce and other personal property as collateral.
I call upon the financial sector to develop special products for micro, small and medium entreprises based on these innovative pieces of legislation.
62. My government is promoting the use of co-operatives as an effective business model to spur development, particularly in rural areas. Co-operatives allow for shared risk and joint ownership of farm equipment, such as tractors, planters, technologies and capital, which ordinarily many of our people find difficult to acquire individually. This is what makes co-operatives an appropriate tool for wealth creation across the country.
63. To foster the growth of co-operatives, my administration will bring to this house the co-operatives bill. This bill will expand the scope of co-operatives beyond agriculture to other growth sectors, such as manufacturing, construction and financial services.
64. Our priority is to implement systems that will result in smart and simplified procedures, thereby reducing clearance time. In this regard, my government will present to this house a bill to rationalise and streamline border operations by implementing a coordinated border management system.
65. We recognise the concern raised by the private sector over the impact of imports on local industries in some sectors. It is, however, more important that we focus on ensuring that our products are competitive locally and internationally. In addition, we must also ensure that imported goods strictly conform to set standards.
66. In the recent past, Zambia has experienced a number of climate related challenges, which include droughts and dry spells, seasonal and flash floods as well as extreme temperatures. This has had adverse impact on food security and availability of ground and surface water, electricity generation, and the livelihood of our communities, especially in rural areas.
67. To mitigate this threat, my government will implement the national policy on climate change. The policy will facilitate a coordinated national response for climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and mitigation across all sectors of the economy.
68. Some of the policy measures include strengthening our capacity to predict weather patterns; improving early warning systems for floods and droughts and making more information available for timely response to climate shocks.
In the seventh national development plan, we shall outline measures that will make the Zambian economy resilient to climate change.
Creative and recreation industry
69. The potential of the creative and recreation industry such as tourism, arts and culture, have not been fully exploited. We have vast natural resources, and good weather patterns. In addition we have rich wildlife and attractive fauna and flora, splendid waterfalls and majestic lakes.
70. In our effort to conserve and protect this wildlife heritage, government will enhance community and private sector involvement in the management of wildlife. This is with a view to ensure sustainable wildlife management that will benefit both the governement and the communities.
71. To diversify our tourism sector from traditional products of wildlife and heritage sites, my administration will promote the growth of arts and culture to meet the varied tastes and expectations of both local and international tourists.
72. Government is also committed to the development of creative and performing arts. In this regard, government has developed the film policy to guide the development of the film industry in Zambia. In addition, my administration will promote the production and use of local content in the film industry.
73. My government is expediting the formulation of the heritage policy and review of the conservation law. This is in order to facilitate for increased community participation and benefits.
74. Furthermore, government, through public private partnerships, will promote increased investment in the hospitality industry to enable Zambia host mega conferences with adequate facilities.
75. Following my directive last year, government has established a tourism development and investment corporation as a subsidiary of the industrial development corporaton to serve as a special purpose vehicle for public investment in tourism.
Human capital development
76. Human capital development is key for any country to make lasting progress. Zambia is no exception. In addressing human capital development, government will continue to focus on skills development, science, technology and innovation.
77. In the area of skills development, government will continue to invest in technical and vocational skills that promote self- employment, particularly among the youth. This will enable youths to fully and effectively participate in the economy.
78. My administration will, therefore, continue with its robust infrastructure development programme for skills development in order to have at least one skills training centre in each district.
79. We must deliberately target those who have been to school and those who have not been. No one must be left behind. We must develop a policy to revive apprenticeship training and strengthen internship.
80. In an effort to improve quality human capital, provision of health services is an important ingredient in fostering economic growth and development.
81. We have made good progress in increasing access to health care. On average, 75 percent of households in Zambia are now within 5 kilometres proximity to a health facility. Our referral system has also improved.
82. I am happy to inform the house that a total of 315 health posts out of 650 are now operational. We have also commissioned and opened a total of nine district hospitals since my last address to this August house. These are chama, lumwana, gwembe, chilubi mainland and milenge. Others are chavuma, mpulungu, mwense and masaiti district hospitals.
82. We have upgraded chilenje and matero clinics to first level referal hospitals. We also upgraded senga hill health centre to full district hospital status. This demonstrates our commitment to bringing health services as close to the people as possible.
83. Government will focus on consolidating the gains we have made. Our priority will be on provision of primary and tertiary health care services. Government will also prioritise improvement of nutritional services in order to enhance the health status of our people, particularly children and women.
84. With regard to primary health care, government will prioritise preventing disease occurrence and promoting healthy lifestyles. In the area of child health, our focus will be to strengthen our immunisation programme to cover every child in every part of the country.
We will also work towards reducing malaria related deaths countrywide and achieving a malaria free Zambia by 2020. Further, we will reduce stunted growth and malnutrition among children.
85. We cannot talk about development or indeed the prosperity of our country without recognizing a huge section of our society whose voices are predominantly overlooked – our children. For a long time, we have assumed that children should only be seen and not heard. If we indeed believe (and I am sure we all do,) in the long-term prosperity and development of our country, we need to rethink our assumptions and understand that “we do not inherit our country from our forefathers or ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
86. I have mentioned before our plans for youth skills development in national development, including participation in the national economy as entrepreneurs. Today I wish to mention that my government will not only look to train youths and children to become better business people, but we will also involve them meaningfully in the development of our country. This means that they will be active participants (with a valuable voice and opinion) in the decision making processes including participating in policy direction so that when we handover the country to our children, we will be rest assured that we will be handing over to individuals that we have equipped to take this great country to even greater heights.
87. How can we make this a reality? We can, when we:
I. Make meaningful child participation a reality by promoting, expanding and formalizing child participation at community, district, provincial and national structures – and I believe this parliament can, and should be a role model in this regard to all institutions and elected bodies in Zambia;
II. Decide to equip, train and mentor children to be able to participate meaningfully and without fear, in public processes that affect their wellbeing;
III. Strive to ensure that every last child in Zambia, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, physical state, family income, geographical location or race, has an equal chance to realize their full potential.
88. To the children of Zambia, I say: this is my promise to you because you are the promise of this great country! You owe us nothing we owe you a future. Yours is a generation debt we must endeavor to pay as a matter of duty!
89. We will continue to pursue effective and sustainable measures in addressing the hiv/aids challenge. I look forward to finding local solutions to this scourge. This should include the local manufacturing of essential drugs and ownership in the financing of our health care.
90. Government will strengthen surveillance, preparedness, prevention, containment and mitigation against epidemic prone diseases. These include ebola, zika fever and yellow fever. Further, government will focus on combating non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, mental illness, obesity and cancer. Equal attention will be paid to neglected tropical diseases, such as bilharzia and sleeping sickness.
91. In order to reduce drug, substance and alcohol abuse, by our youths, which continue to endanger public health, my administration will, put in place policies that will promote an intergrated and balanced approach to curbing this scourge.
92. Some of these measures include coming up with alternative sources of livelihood for our youths. It is also important that law enforcement agencies cooperate effectively with social and health service providers in order to achieve greater results.
93. To successfully achieve our national health objectives, government will accelerate training and placement of appropriate skills mix of health care givers. The desired goal is to bring the health worker to population ratio in line with world health organisation standards.
94. Enhancing our human development outcomes also entails achieving universal access to improved water supply and sanitation. This is key to sustainable development and public health. Currently, 65 percent of the total population has access to safe water supply and 44 percent to improved sanitation. However,a lot still remains to be done to broaden our populations access to both safe water and conducive sanitation facilities, especially in rural areas.
95. In addition, government will promote more research in sustainable solid waste management initiatives, such as recycling and use of solid waste for alternative energy and plant nutrition.
96. Government remains committed to achieving universal access to education, particularly at early childhood and primary levels. This is fundemental in promoting skills development for economic growth and development.
My administration will continue to reduce the mismatch between skills development and the needs of the labour market.
97. I am concerned with the current completion and pass rates, especially at secondary school level. To improve the quality of education, we will continue to train and recruit teachers. Our objective is to progressively reduce teacher/pupil ratios at all levels. We will also continue to improve the teaching of science and mathematics, which is critical to attaining improvements in technology and innovation for enhanced Industrialisation and job creation.
98. I am convinced that the future of our young people lies in their ability to interrogate, innovate and exploit smart technologies.
Therefore, our young people must be well equipped to confidently face the future. My administration will, in this respect, continue to expand its investment in information communication technology across all levels of education.
99. Government will continue with its pro-poor policies, programmes and associated initiatives aimed at empowering vulnerable members of our society. These include the citizens economic empowerment programme, the youth bus drivers empowerment scheme, the youth street vendors empowerment scheme and the presidentail marketerers empowerment scheme.
100. So far, 2,500 youth street vendors in Lusaka, copperbelt and central province have been empowered with short term loans, without collateral. This is to enable the youth access loans for their businesses.
101. In addition, 3,600 youths will benefit from affordable loans to own a bus, a garage or a car wash bay. So far, 27 buses have already been procured and disbursed out of the targeted 100. This intervention is expected to create more employment opportunities for the youth.
102. My government will continue to empower the youth through establishment of specialised youth resettlement schemes. Under these schemes, the youth are being empowered with land and start-up kits to participate in agriculture, thereby contributing to economic diversification. Currently two centres, one in mporokoso and another in mufumbwe are being developed. Government will establish at least one youth resettlement scheme in each province.
103. My administration has continued to economically empower vulnerable groups that include women and persons with disabilities. Since 2015, a total of 1,400 women’s clubs and associations have benefited from financial grants, translating into 28,000 individual beneficiaries. This is promoting income generating activities and food security at household level.
104. Government is also providing collateral free loans to individual women through the micro credit scheme that aims to promote entrepreneurship skills among rural women. This programme is being implemented in 53 districts and has benefited 6,000 women.
Employment and productivity
105. Our unemployed youth on the streets constitute an enormous potential workforce. Job creation, therefore, remains high on the agenda of this administration.
106. Pursuant to our commitment to decent employment, government enacted the employment (amendment) ACT No. 15 of 2015 to curb casualisation and unfair termination of employment. This has guaranteed job security and fair treatment for workers.
107. Under the minimum wage setting, we are moving away from the general minimum wage legislation to sector-based minimum wage legislation. This will address sector-based challenges on the minimum wage requirement and conditions of service.
108. As we intensify our efforts to create decent jobs, it is important to enhance productivity. Growth and competitiveness will greatly depend on our ability to maximise the utilisation of labour, capital, best work practices and innovation to achieve superior output relative to our competitors.
109. Government will, in this regard, implement measures to improve productivity both in the public and private sectors. These measures will include improving work culture, and the provision of appropriate skills.
110. Following my directive during my address to parliament last year, government has begun the process of institutionalising productivity and continuous improvement concepts in the public service.
Social protection and gender
111. The levels of poverty in our country, though on a declining trend, have remained high, especially among the female population. The poverty situation is more pronounced in rural areas where the proportion of the population living below the poverty line is nearly three times higher than in urban areas.
112. With regards to basic social protection, my administration remains committed to implementing various interventions. These include social cash transfer, food security packs and homegrown school feeding programmes.
113. Government has continued to respond to emergency situations as a form of social assistance. In 2015, relief food was provided to over 975,000 people in 31 districts.
114. My administration increased the budgetary allocation to the social cash transfer programme from k150 million in 2015 to k250 million in 2016. The beneficiary households also increased from 191,500 in 2015 to 242,000 in 2016 spread in the 78 districts implementing the programme. This translates into 1.4 million individuals benefiting from the programme.
115. We intend to scale up the social cash transfer programme to the remaining districts. In addition, we shall soon introduce the use of visa cards in the administration of cash transfers to the beneficiaries in selected districts. This innovation will not only modernise the scheme, but also simplify and quicken provision of the social cash transfers to the beneficiaries.
116. Government has continued to implement the food security pack programme. This is aimed at increasing food security at household level for vulnerable but viable farmers. Currently, the programme has 32,000 beneficiaries receiving seed and fertiliser.
117. In my last address, I indicated that government would finalise the national social protection bill to provide for a comprehensive and responsive social protection system. The bill will address, among other issues, the plight of pensioners and their vulnerablity.
118. I am happy to inform this August house that the national social protection bill will be tabled during this session. The bill will also provide for the establishment of a national social health insurance scheme.
119. The scheme will enable the majority of our people to access quality health care, which they have, hitherto, not been able to access due to high out of pocket expenditures, among other reasons. We implore the private sector that have not done so to come up with similar health insurance schemes for their employees as a compliment to the proposed national insurance health scheme.
120. Government remains committed to the promotion and protection of children’s rights in order to ensure that they develop into responsible adults, capable of contributing positively towards national development.
121. In this regard, my government will bring to the house a children’s code bill. Once enacted, this will ensure the domestication of the various conventions that Zambia has ratified. Various pieces of legislation to promote children’s rights will also be reviewed.
122. My administration remains fully committed to achieving gender equality. The more opportunities we give to our women and men, girls and boys to participate in socio-economic development, the more our country stands to benefit from their talents and capabilities.
123. To demonstrate our commitment on gender equality, gender inequalities and gender based violence among other vices, are steadly being addressed and it is our desire to ensure this is a thing of the past. I call upon traditional, church and political leaders to join us in this endeavour.
124. My government will continue to ensure that Zambia has adequate, modern and well-functioning social and economic infrastructure. This includes housing, roads, airports and aerodromes, rail and inland water ways.
125. To this end, government has re-aligned financing of infrastructure development and strengthened the public private partnerships (PPP) unit to effectively coordinate the implementation of the PPP strategy.
126. In the road sector, my government will continue to implement the link Zambia 8,000; the Lusaka 400 and the copperbelt 400 road projects. Priority with regard to the implementation of the link Zambia will be placed on economic roads, which will help integrate productive sectors of the economy to the markets.
In addition, construction of economic roads can be self-financing in terms of maintenance once the roads are tolled given the high traffic volumes on these roads.
127. So far, two inland tollgates have been constructed and are operational at manyumbi and kafulafuta between kabwe and ndola. These two tollgates have greatly contributed to revenue collection. Between january and june this year, 19 million Kwacha was collected. From the weigh bridges, ports of entry and toll gates, 230 million Kwacha had been collected as at 30th june this year.
128. In our bid to further improve revenue collection, government will begin the construction of an additonal four toll gates at Shimabala, Katuba, Chongwe and Mumbwa.
129. The primary feeder road programme will also be prioritised as this creates links to the rural communities and farmers in the far flung areas. Access roads to heritage sites and other tourist attractions will also be prioritised.
130. Under the link Zambia 8,000 road project, about 4,000 kilometres of roads are under construction. Under the Lusaka 400 road project, 315 kilometres of road have been completed and opened to traffic. Progress has also been made to facilitate the commencement of the implementation of the copperbelt 400 road project.
131. My government will continue to improve the rail system to link rail lines to principal ports. In this regard, the operations of Tanzania-Zambia railway Authority (TAZARA) and Zambia railways limited are being revamped.
132. In addition to the existing lines, my administration has prioritised the construction of the 388.8 kilometres line from chipata to connect to the Tazara at Serenje via Petauke and the 202 Kilometres railway spur from Nseluka along the Tazara to Mpulungu.
133. Access to affordable housing continues to elude many citizens. Currently, there still remains a deficit of 1.3 million housing units across the country, leading to the development of informal settlements.
134. To address the deficit, my government will continue to partner with the private sector to facilitate construction of affordable housing units. We will also continue to encourage innovative approaches to home ownership.
135. To address the shortage of houses for our men and women in uniform, government has constructed 3,430 units. These are in Lusaka, Kabwe and Mufulira.
Information and communication technologies
136. During my address to this August house in 2015, I called for transformation in the provision of services by both the public and private sectors through the use of innovative Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). The ict sector has potential to promote innovation and efficiency, lower administrative, operational and transaction costs as well as create jobs.
137. Our citizens can now access services electronically and conduct business transactions from where ever they are, thereby saving time and cost of travel.
A teacher in Kaputa can now access her salary through the post office. A farmer in Gwembe is able to access market information to help him decide where to sell his cotton and at what price. This is what adopting smart solutions can do for our people.
138. Revenue collection has improved since the introduction of electronic payment systems for public services. The electronic systems have minimised incidences of corruption by eliminating human interface in the transaction processes.
Democracy and good governance
139. We must aspire to make Zambia more stable, democratic and an inclusive society, united under the all important motto of One Zambia, One Nation.
140. Democracy and good governance are indispensable to creating a just and prosperous society. In line with the amended constitution, we have established the constitutional court, the court of appeal and specialised courts of the high court to enhance citizens’ access to justice and reduce the backlog of cases. As we all know, justice delayed is justice denied.
141. We will continue to respect the independence of the judiciary, uphold the rule of law and strengthen all institutions of governance.
142. The fight against corruption, in all its forms, is a key tenet of democracy and good governance. My administration will, to this end, not relent in its fight against corruption, money laundering and drug trafficking. We will take the fight against these vices to every corner of the country and to every institution, be it public or private. There will be no sacred cows.
143. We will not allow corruption, drug trafficking and money-laundering to rob Zambia of its resources, deny its people the development that they long for, and the right to quality services.
144. Corruption is a tax on our collective prosperity, which none of us should tolerate. In this connection, all patriotic Zambians have a duty to report any case of corruption where ever it manifests itself.
145. The amended constitution has entrenched our decentralised system of governance and, therefore, given impetus to the implementation of our decentralisation policy by devolution.
146. Decentralisation by devolution promises a future of equitably shared prosperity for all of us. It broadens opportunities for citizens’ participation in decision making across the country, ensuring that no one is left behind in our journey towards prosperity for all.
147. I am glad to inform the house that the implementation of the national decentralisation policy has gained momentum in the areas of primary health care, agricultural extension services as well as early childhood and primary education, to mention but a few.
148. To accelerate the process, my administration will conclude the legal and regulatory reforms to facilitate transfer of specified functions with matching human and financial resources to councils. This is in order to enhance their legal and financial autonomy as well as improve service delivery.
149. To my fellow citizens, I implore you to take keen interest in the decentralisation process and demand total accountability and better results from those who manage the resources to ensure that your needs and expectations are met.
150. My administration remains steadfast in transforming the public service into a professional, ethical, and accountable institution, delivering quality services to the people of Zambia.
151. I am glad to inform the house that all permanent secretaries are now on performance based contracts, with clearly defined targets. Through these contracts, we will promote high performance among permanent secretaries. Government will accelerate the rolling out of this programme to the rest of the public service and quasi government institutions.
Integrated land management reforms
152. Zambia has never had a coherent national land policy since independence. This has led to indiscriminate use of land and poor land development practices that need to be corrected.
153. The amended constitution of 2016 provides principles on the basis of which land shall be held, used and managed. It now remains for my government to quicken the process of developing a national land policy.
154. In addition to the national land policy, my administration will develop a customary land administration bill for consideration by this August house in the current session. The bill is expected to positively contribute to the enhancement of security of tenure over land as well as promote good governance, justice and equity in matters relating to land management and administration.
155. My government is undertaking the national land titling programme. The programme is aimed at ensuring that all land owners are issued with certificates of title. It will also help to increase the revenue base and investment in the country, thereby contributing to socio-economic development.
Law and order
156. Zambia has had a long record of peaceful elections and co-existence since our independence. We have time and again demonstrated our ability to maintain peace, law and order. It was, however, disheartening to witness political violence during the run-up to the 11th August elections. The ugly scenes of Zambians displaced from their homes seeking refuge in a secondary school due to post election violence in some parts of the country should never ever be allowed to recur in future.
157. The violence witnessed in the last election is alien to our culture. Zambians were pitted against each other for political expediency. Regrettably, innocent lives and property were lost while some of our people suffered injuries. No sane political leader can enjoy suffering of Zambians, regardless of their political persuation or affiliation. I condemned the violence in the strongest terms.
I want to reiterate that violence has no place in our country. I reiterate my call on all of us to embrace a spirit of co-existence and tolerance, premised on our all important motto of One Zambia, One Nation.
Media development and access to information
158. The media landscape in our country is fully liberalised. This has resulted in an increase of radio and television stations. The independent broadcasting authority has issued 96 licences for community and commercial radio stations and 33 licences for television stations.
159. As of July 2016, 88 radio stations and 19 television stations were operational. This situation is impacting positively on our democracy as more people can now have access to information. Freedom of the media however must not be abused to propagate hate speech and illeberal values that seek to divide our communities.
Journalism is a noble profession that must not be hijacked be merchants of ill-will and venomous slander.
160. To strengthen access to information, promote democracy and good governance, government is currently rolling out digital migration to all parts of the country. Under phase 1, a joint bouquet of digital terrestrial broadcasting is already operational, comprising Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and ten private television stations.
161. My government will continue to be guided by the principles of good neighbourliness, non-interference in internal affairs of other countries and economic diplomacy.
162. The need for effective diplomacy cannot be over-emphasised. I am happy to inform the house that government effort to professionalise our foreign service will soon become a reality. To this effect, my government will present to this August house the foreign service bill for consideration.
162. Zambia remains committed to promoting peace and security at home and abroad. We are proud that Zambia has been elected to the 15 member African union peace and security council for a three-year term ending in 2019.
Through this membership, we will continue to strengthen our role in mediation, conflict resolution and peace – building initiatives.
163. We are also proud to have won the right to host the African union economic, social and cultural council. This is the first organ of the continental body that Zambia will host. This will enhance our standing on the African continent, create job opportunities and contribute to conference tourism.
Re-alignment of government ministries
164. My administration is committed to ensuring that we remain accountable to the legislature and the Zambian people. During this session, my administration will bring a number of bills to the house. I call upon you all to support the bills. We will also ensure that we meet the demands of the legislature with respect to annual reports, parliamentary questions, government assurances and other oversight instruments.
In this respect, my government will continue upholding the principle that parliamentary business always takes precedence.
165. In order to enhance efficiency in government operations, my administration proposes to this August house to re-align some government ministries and departments subject to the ratification by this August house. In this regard, I have created 4 new ministries as follows:
I. Ministry for presidential affairs.
II. Ministry for water and sanitation and environmental protection.
III. Ministry of housing and infrastructure development.
IV. Ministry on national guidance and religious affairs.
166. In addition to the above, I would like to table before this August house, for its consideration, the following
I. The removal of the housing department from ministry of local government and housing to be part and parcel of the ministry of housing and infrastruture development.
II. The removal of environmental protection from the ministry of lands natural resources and environmental protection to be part of the ministry of water and sanitation and environmental protection.
167. The vice-president will table before this August house other government departments that are being re-aligned. Furthermore, in order to promote the effective attainment of an integrated multi-sectoral approach to development, the ministry of national development planning is expected to be a supervisory and cordinating ministry of other sector ministries.
168. In this regard, the ministry will operate as a divisional ministry under the auspices of the office of the president.
166. As a country, we want to ensure that the welfare of our citizens is improved for the better. We want to ensure social justice and equity for our citizens. We want to ensure all our citizens benefit from the gains we have made and will continue to make. On this journey to prosperity for all, we will carry everyone along.
167. We have already laid down a firm foundation for our journey to prosperity. Let us keep this vision alive and work hard towards its attainment. It must be seen in a total paradigm shift in the way we talk, the way we act and in the way we relate with others.
168. Let us all remain hard working and united. We must be selfless, honest and united. We must focus our energies on what we are able to give to others and the nation at large, as opposed to our selfish gains, at the expense of the nation.
169. This country is not void of solutions. We have the social, economic, geographical and political conditions to solve our problems. We need radical rethinking and reorganising our resources and means of exploiting them. Our resources form the foundation of our society and economy. The resources required for organising ourselves are in our local communities, in our traditional structures, in our rural communities, in our urban communities, in our private sector, in our civil society organisations and even our churches. We need not copy other people or country to find our solutions, or wait to see what others are doing, or indeed just copy from others, but it is time that we ourselves must look for answers and solutions to our problems within our own means. We must not believe that others have the right answer, but rather, that we must bring our own context, our own creativity to bear and thereby create our own Zambian solutions.
170. Our solutions must ultimately be aimed at raising living and working standards of our people and improving their ability to create wealth and address problems that have seemed insurmountable in the past. The very conditions, institutions or circumstances that we have for long viewed as counterproductive to development, as intractable problems, are the very places we must find compelling economic drivers and long term solutions. The solutions to our current economic and social challenges must be ground-breaking, effective and empowering to the widest possible degree.
171. This means that all institutions, public, private, civil society must become radically responsive to our people and fully engaged in finding and implementing solutions.
172. There is evidence at the global level, that current social, political and economic systems are exacerbating inequalities, rather than reducing them. Zambia has not been spared from this global phenomenon. Therefore we need to step up efforts to accelerate economic activity and to ensure that its benefits reach every person in our society.
173. The economist louis o. Kelso is on record as saying that “it is humiliating to possess nothing, to own nothing, and hence to produce nothing and to count for nothing.” Therefore every Zambian must feel invested in the process of nation building, and that each of us one can contribute to the growth of this country. Our people, the small scale farmer, the small business owner, the innovator are the architects of this country.
174. If we deploy our resources strategically, they can be our game changers. Our communities, and each citizen and citizen group presents us with social and economic capital. We must no longer ignore the micro-economic efforts and models that are thriving in our communities, the potentiality of groups organised around savings, farming, or business.
175. Everyday in our villages, townships, and markets, people are cumulating savings, inventory and assets, whether in cash, livestock or material possessions. Day by day, they engage in financial transactions; they lend, borrow, save and agree to pay for services or goods on a daily or regular basis. But many they are operating in an environment that disadvantages them, they do not have access to banks, credit, insurance, safety and mobility of their savings or cash.
176. In many cases, it is imply about increasing the sophistication of the way people are already doing business. They are operating in an environment where daily calamity, funerals, sickness, theft of assets can destroy them in an instant. This situation must no longer persist.
176. Our challenge is to make our economic and financial resources work for every Zambian so that as many Zambians as possible can contribute to the wealth-creation of this country. In practical terms, this means that we must try as much as possible to ensure that every citizen has access to diverse forms of wealth stabilizing or wealth producing assets.
177. Our short-term economic outlook is not very cheerful but the resolve to overcome our adversities is undoubtedly clear. We are not a nation of resignation. We are an aspiration nation. We all must aspire for a decent place at the rendezvous of opportunity this great country affords us.
178. We must all invest in hope and hard work that must lead all of us to a place of affluence. This we can do as a united, peaceful and democratic society. In the collective power of this nation, I have great hope. In the patience and resilience of our people, I have no doubt. Zambia is our common heritage. It is our common inheritance. Let us all work towards nation building.
Let us build a nation that celebrates diversity and aspiration. Let us reject all forms of illiberal values. We are tolerant nation and so we must remain.
179. Our country was built on a foundation of hard work and unity. Let us be patriotic in order to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous Zambia. Country interest must come before political party interest. In the words of that great son of Africa, nelson mandela, “let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”
Thank you Mr speaker, thank you Zambia,
May god bless you all, God the Republic of Zambia
I thank you.