First of all I would like to thank the president of the Republic of Zambia, His excellence Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu for the policy pronouncement that 20% of all subcontracts should to go to the locals. This is a step in the right direction. I know we should have and still need to ask for more, but FINDECO was not built in one day. Fellow citizens, let’s just see to it that we are successful with the implementation of the 20% that we have been given and I am sure even if we push for 50% or more, it will be reasonable for it to be given to us and later on implementable.
But Mr president, good as it may be, i am afraid to tell you that youths have been left out. We all know that old people have more experience in the industry than us. They know whom to see, what and how to present better than us. So if we are asked to apply for the same contracts, they stand a better chance of getting them, not because they can do a better job, but because they know the system better than us. That is why on behalf of the youths from Copperbelt and the rest of the country I am asking that from the 20% which has been given to locals, 5% of contracts must be for the youths.
Zambia is technically a young nation. It has 45.4% of young people under the age of 15 and 36.7% Between 15 and 35 years. This makes 82.1% of young people and leaves only 17.9% of old people. It makes logical sense that due to these statistics, there is need to invest more in the youths if development of the country is to accelerate. But, it’s an open secret that Zambia does not groom it’s youths, however, I would like to believe that you Mr president stands to correct this detrimental norm. Otherwise we will end up with half baked senior citizens as always.
We don’t want to be only employment seekers, but also employment creators. We don’t want to be fighting over the same jobs with our old folks, we want to create employment ourselves.
I believe that of the main reasons why we as youths are not given these jobs is
mostly because there is fear that we may fail or not be able to handle the intricacy which comes with certain jobs, but to tell you the truth, I have a lot of friends who are young contractors and have done a lot of exceptional work, even better than our old folks. It doesn’t mean that if you are a young director then you can’t employ older and experienced workers. Besides, contracts like field clearing, digging of drainages, supply of building sand and crushed stones can be done even by someone who hasn’t been to school. My suggestion is, all these should go to the youths.
I assure you Mr President, we are up to the task. We don’t go to school for fun, the we are able to apply the knowledge that we gain from those institutions. All we asking for is adequate represention of the youths in the industry. Besides, experience is the best teacher and practice makes perfect.
With the emergence of the Chinese in the industry, times are going to be harder. So as far as equipping young people for this reality is concerned, giving us 5% will equip us with the much needed skills and experience and will enable us to stand a better chance of competing as equals with them. This will also coincide with the objectives of the National Youth Policy and Action Plan for Youth Empowerment and Employment.
Mr president, I would like to believe that when you said one of the reasons for prononcement of the policy was skills transfer you also meant leadership, and not only for old people but also us,the youths.
if I can just comment on leadership, though there is wisdom which comes with age, but good leadership is irregardless of it. I will give an example of two very prominent young men from the copperbelt who are doing more than anyone imagined, the Kitwe DC Mr Binwell Mpundu and the Kitwe mayor His worship Christopher Kang’ombe. We are all able to witness that regardless of their age, they are doing very well with their entrusted positions.
I had the privilege of meeting the special assistant to the president for projects, implementation and monitoring Mr Andrew Chellah, RDA Director Mr Elias Mwape, and NCC Chairman and other delegates during the meeting which was held in Kitwe at The Zambia Army Mawlaik Barracks Banquet Hall, I am happy to inform you that the team is very committed to insuring that 20% goes to local contractors at all costs. They are also keen to see that women and youths also benefit. I aired my sentiments to them but I know they can only be acted on if the word comes from you sir.
It is a norm now for most people to take to the streets in protest of what the governemnt has or hasn’t done, but I believe there is always a way of sorting out issues diplomatically without resorting to civil disobedience.
In conclusion Mr president, we are fed up of being future leaders, we want to be leaders right now because we are capable. If you do us this favor, as youths we will forever be in your debt and we will insure that we pay back by ensuring that we work hard and smart to the best of our abilities to bring
development to the great nation of Zambia.
God bless our hard work,
And bless the United Tribes of Zambia