PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s resolve to promote economic diversification and industrialisation in the next five years is a step in the right direction, Livingstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) president Namakau Siyanga has said.
Ms Siyanga said the fact that the economy would be diversified from copper dependence to that of agriculture in the next five years under President Lungu’s administration was a great milestone to Zambia’s economic development.
She said her Chamber was happy that agriculture would be the major priority of the economic diversification agenda saying the sector was key in tackling poverty and unemployment in the country.
In a response to a press query yesterday, Ms Siyanga also said the industrialisation drive was important in creating the much needed jobs in the economy.
“Like President Lungu said during the ceremonial opening of the National Assembly of Zambia recently, it is important to add value to our products so that some of the products can be exported to boost our foreign earnings.
“For instance instead of selling ground nuts or soya beans in their raw form, we should be selling peanut butter as well as cooking oil and juices among others,” Ms Siyanga said.
She was also happy that youth unemployment would be tackled to reduce the number of young people on the streets.
Ms Siyanga expressed hope that load shedding of electricity would come to an end during the next five years to stir more economic activities.
“The Head of State said his Government has made efforts to reduce load shedding which we can all bear witness so far.
“With the strategies he has employed over the next five years, we hope load shedding will be a thing of the past,” she said.
Ms Siyanga was also happy that President Lungu’s administration was committed to improving the business environment and competitiveness by promoting the use of efficient systems for business licensing and regulations.
“This is good as it will reduce the cost of doing business, promote transparency, increase productivity and eliminate opportunities for corruption.
“In overall, I would like to say that President Lungu touched on pertinent issues in his address to the National Assembly and we hope that his five years will not be a talking shop but that which will deliver to the Zambian people what he has promises,” Ms Siyanga said.