By Sunday Chanda
This is my analysis of the Presiden’st speech yesterday that seeks to highlight some very progressive measures the President labored to address, that we may not be talking about or have forgotten because of one miscalculated decision. However, I hold the view that the following points the President raised are of great benefit to the nation in Post-COVID-19 if well implemented.
1. PRIORITISE LOCAL PRODUCTS: The President instructing the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry to ensure that chain stores around the nation prioritize local products from our domestic farmers is a positive step towards self-reliance as a nation. He also emphasised on the need to continue in this direction even in post-COVID-19, cautioning chain stores to only import products the local farmers cannot produce. For people that are futuristic this is an opportunity for growth to those that organize themselves.
2. COVIC-19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY FUND: The President instructing the Ministry of Finance to ensure that they set aside recovery fund models that can help existing businesses is a positive direction for businesses in reshaping their delivery strategy in the world to come after COVID-19.
3. EMPOWERMENT PACKAGES FOR THE YOUTH, WOMEN AND VULNERABLE: Understanding that in Post-COVID-19 we shall see an increase in unemployment. The President instructing the Ministry of Finance to identify and consolidate all available resources that can be distributed to Small businesses run by the Youth, Women Groups and the Vulnerable is a progressive step.
4. CITIZEN ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT COMMISSION TO SPEARHEAD WEALTH CREATION MODELS: The President instructed the CEEC to look for new bankable businesses that can be funded in order to spread the country’s potential in generating wealth creation. This also proves as an opportunity for the average Zambian to look forward to.
5. BRIDGING THE DIGITAL GAP: Post-COVID-19 will be a highly tech-driven era, and the President instructing the Ministry of Transport and Communication and Smart Zambia to support better digital infrastructure and digital skills development is a step closer to bridging our country’s digital divide.
6. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT IN THE HEALTH SECTOR: The President emphasized on the need to restructure the manner in which the health sector delivers its services, and in doing so, one of the measures he established was the need to encourage Mobile-Data Diagnostic Tools in the health sector. Which is also a futuristic and progressive step.
7. ADDRESSING FOOD INSECURITY IN POST-COVID-19: Food insecurity will be a challenge for most countries in Post-COVID-19 and in order to ensure that the nation does not experience another food crisis after this pandemic. The President emphasized the need for the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of National Development and Planning to create a conducive environment through which the local private sector can produce food for domestic consumption and export. An opportunity for the average Zambian citizen to go into food production.
8. ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE: Climate change is a serious issue, and the President having to instruct the Ministry of National Development and Planning to rework their Climate Change Action plan for the Post-COVID-19 era is a progressive and futuristic step to appreciate.
These are some of the positive pronouncements I believe we may have overlooked from the Head of State which we may all appriciate regardless our independent political views.