President Hakainde Hichilema says government has negotiated a formal order of one million tonnes of mealie meal with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The President said this follows the formalisation of the trade mechanism put in place between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Me Hichilema said the Congolese government has for the first installment paid in advance through the bank 14. 5 million dollars which was deposited on Thursday July 20th , 2023.
“We are not selling maize but selling mealie meal so that we can keep the commodity ourselves, get a better price and be able to minimise on smuggling,” President Hichilema said.
The President said this in Namwala today shortly after arriving at his Naminwe Farm where he is on a working holiday.
He, however, assured Zambians that government is committed to addressing the issue of smuggling which has continued to affect mealie meal prices.
The President also called on Zambians to support the growth of the agriculture sector through irrigation farming in view of existing crop export opportunities created.
” Let’s give more value to the farmers so that they increase maize production and will provide funds to support farmers to venture into irrigation farming. With farming inputs given early this year and a fair price will increase production,” he said.
President Hichilema also said the debt restructuring has opened investment opportunities in various sectors of the economy.
He said the signing of one billion US dollars solar thermal power project investment into the energy sector with the ACSG Westland Consortium of the United Arab Emirates will enable remote rural communities connected to power supply.
He said the thermal power will invest in a 510megawatts modular thermal solar power with Shangombo District in Western Province being the first targeted community to benefit from the first 10 megawatts solar thermal power initiative.
The other 500 megawatts will be spread to other remote areas in the country to enhance Internet services.
“It is coming in modular form. It means it can be put anywhere so that the people can have e- health, e-education services in rural areas and this will spur economic development,” the President said.
He said the recent signing of trade agreements with the United Arab Emirates on various economic issues which will also see small medium enterprises, mining benefiting from a loan facility amounting to 15 million dollars.
“We add more business opportunities for young people and women. This is another envelope we are opening to give value to the people through investment.
He said the agreement will ensure that the government has 50/ 50 investment opportunities so that the people can do business fairly.
He urged Zambians to work hard and avoid laziness as it is not tolerable even by God stating that people should take advantage of the opportunities that government is creating to improve lives.
Southern Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa said the President is in Namwala at his Naminwe farm for a working holiday and also to enable him to reflect on national economic recovery.
Mr Mweetwa said the President needs to work out quietly especially after a hectic schedule of travelling locally and internationally negotiating debt restructuring.
UPND provincial chairperson Billiard Makwembo said the party is happy with the process that government has made since being elected into office.
He said there is light at the end of the tunnel for the country as the President has done more than what the people expected him to do in a short period of time.
“We are not complaining because they are happy with the process that government has made in a short period of time. This is what the people wanted,” Mr Makwembo said.