Respected engineer Bernard Chiwala says Zambia has adequate resources that can be used to change its economic landscape and become a prosperous nation.
Eng. Chiwala, the former Road Development Agency (RDA) chief executive officer, named mineral resources, human resources and improved Agriculture as some of the things that can make Zambia a prosperous nation.
The board chairperson of the Lusaka Multipurpose Cooperative Society (LAMCS) said Zambia has more resources that can be utilized to pay back the current national debt.
The experienced engineer is currently promoting the growing of avocado for export in his capacity as board chairperson of the Lusaka Multipurpose Cooperative Society (LAMCS).
Eng. Chiwala further called for merit in the utilisation of national resources.
“The debt levels we have at the moment compared to the resources we have is nothing. Sir, (Franklyn Tembo) I do know for a fact that this country is a gold country. We have gold almost all over the place. Let’s have that gold as a national strategic asset and only give institutions like ZCCM to manage it so that we can get the most out of gold, out of it and raise money and also use it as a reserve in the Bank of Zambia. That we can do, see what Botswana has done with their diamonds. Diamond is a strategic asset in Botswana we must do likewise and manage it well. Put the best people there you can find,” Eng. Chiwala said in a recent interview with ZNBC TV.
“If Zambians are in Ontario, bring them back if they are the best. The whole issue of meritocracy is a missing ingredient. I will give you an example of one country which is a leading producer of avocado globally: Mexico. One crop per year Three Billion Dollars, how much is our debt? 14 Billion, say 15 Billion. 3 Billion Into 15 Billion. In under five years from one crop, if we work hard on one crop, I am not talking about macadamia, cashew nuts or walnuts which are also of a very high value. We can change the economic landscape and make this nation the envy of the nations. Zambia has everything, we can do it but what we need to put up at the forefront is meritocracy. Reward merit, have the best people in all the places. That is what is going to transform Zambia; I have learnt from Singapore, Singapore is a tiny country that is 1000 times smaller than Zambia but look at how they catapulted from backwardness and squalor. In 1964 their economy and Zambia you could not even compare. Today they have in excess of Three Hundred Billion Dollars in the reserves,” Eng. Chiwala said.
“Tiny country, you can finish going throughout the country in a few hours but what did they put at the centre? Meritocracy puts a high premium on educating their own people so that they have the best education and then bring them into the civil service, the public service and the best people. The likes of Prof. Clive Chirwa, put them in strategic institutions. Just the best and give them space to do their work and to do it well and reward them well. The benefits that will accrue to our country will be tremendous in a very short period of time,” he said.
Eng. Chiwala added:”I will speak for myself, without the scholarship I got from ZCCM in 1984; I would have been a village today chasing rabbits. I didn’t know anyone. I just got this after my grade 10, I got this letter that I have been given a scholarship. I didn’t have to know a PS (Permanent Secretary), I didn’t have to know a minister. We had a system in this country which we lost, that looked for good students wherever you are whether you are in Shang’ombo or you are in Chinsali. That is what we must bring back, meritocracy, meritocracy, and meritocracy.”