Saturday, June 22, 2024

ZNS Out to Drive Economic Development

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In a fast-changing world, entrepreneurship is one of the main drivers of economic development. Zambia, for its part, has laid a strong foundation for economic take-off despite challenges ranging from disease to drought.

Enter the Zambia National Service (ZNS). It has always been the desire of ZNS Commander Lieutenant General Maliti Solochi to ensure that the military wing retains its institutional pride in peacetime struggles. It was therefore not surprising when ZNS launched its holding company on Thursday.

Through the launch of the much-anticipated Eagles Holdings Limited, the military wing announced its intention to enhance its participation in the country’s economy by unveiling eight companies across various sectors, including security, trading, minerals, fuels, construction, transportation, fumigation, and events.

Lt. Gen. Solochi’s command has fearlessly and innovatively looked outside the box to contribute to the economic development of the country. In a dynamic and diverse security environment, ZNS analyzed and developed a durable strategic plan that led to the creation of a holding company to ensure the military wing, which has been associated with agriculture, infrastructure development, robust culture, and sports, can measure up well to the demanding standard of the new Dawn government’s manifesto and meet the aspirations of the Zambian people amidst the current global fiscal realities.

ZNS was established and organized to provide national service in food production and rural reconstruction. This mandate has not changed since the Kaunda days, but what has seemingly changed over the years is the clear focus from command to ensure that it meets the expectations of the government in general and the citizenry in particular.

As a public institution, ZNS has continued to align itself with the historical role of rallying behind the government to boost the economic and human development agenda. By looking outside the box, Lt. Gen. Solochi has chosen to reconstruct a modern ZNS that can be responsive to the government’s transformation agenda of fostering economic and social development on an immediate and sustained basis.

While Gen. Solochi and his command continue to focus on key issues of particular interest, such as:

  • The production of staple food crops like maize, rice, wheat, sorghum, and cassava to feed into the milling plants that have been constructed at great cost so that people can buy cheap mealie meal at an affordable price.
  • Taking up the challenge of rural reconstruction; building bridges, roads, dams, schools, health posts, and housing for local government (local authorities and constituencies) using the revived Builders Brigade Branch and Land Development Branch.
  • Remaining a Rapid Reaction or Standby Force to respond to emerging crisis situations, especially disasters such as floods in conjunction with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit.
  • Helping address climate change concerns and public capital or social needs in general whenever the need arises.

In order to realize this vision, ZNS under the watch of Gen. Solochi has reformed its affairs by not only upgrading its infrastructure, modernizing its equipment, improving its human capital, and enhancing its systems to meet the demanding standards of the new Dawn administration but also participating in other economic affairs of the country through its holding company.

By establishing a holding company, ZNS may still be called upon to provide some security or protection duties. It is still performing this function through various operations around the country as part of its noble mandate to preserve.

ZNS appreciates its mandate but can no longer restrict itself to agricultural activities and infrastructure development. It had to step up, and indeed it has done so. Ideally, military operations other than war (MOOTW) in peacetime across the Defense Services must benefit the human security aspects to which ZNS belongs.

The ZNS Command leadership has diligently revolutionized its affairs by investing systematically and methodically in areas that will not only promote food security and spur rural reconstruction but also other economic sectors through the holding company. Through the holding company launched on Thursday, ZNS intends to harness the vision of Command and support the new Dawn government. It is a paradigm shift to support MOOTW, which is long overdue.

ZNS command has conducted due diligence through various benchmarking visits to countries such as Egypt and Ethiopia, where the military is a huge stakeholder in the economies of those countries. Tanzania, which emulated the concept of establishing an auxiliary military wing, is now way ahead of Zambia. ZNS had to go to Dar es Salaam to learn best practices. The holding company is a result of such a benchmarking visit.

ZNS has changed its strategies in a changing environment by developing strong institutional frameworks to support emerging threats such as the challenging economy. ZNS has demonstrated its ability to be adaptive and innovative to help mitigate the effects of a global economic meltdown and other emerging threats.

Criticism

Since the launch of the holding company, some people have taken to social media to criticize the well-thought-out initiative. ZNS Command should embrace criticism and use it positively. When the holding company overperforms, it will win the critics over. For now, Gen. Solochi should grow a thick skin and remain focused.

By Benedict Tembo

8 COMMENTS

  1. THERE IS NO HARM IN TRYING
    IT MAY BE A FIRST FOR ZNS
    BUT I AM STILL NOT SO SURE TOO MANY PASSED FAILURES

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  2. Just adding to lawyer Jere’s concerns. I have no doubt that UPND means well and President HH is the best we have had. But we do not want a stronger military that has interests in the economy of the country. Let’s learn lessons from Sudan, Pakistan and Egypt. In these countries the military was made powerful owning industries with a huge stake in the economy. As a result, any civilian government that threatens military economic interest is removed. Let ZNS companies be owned by minister of finance and run by ZNS. Workers must be paid only salaries from government as all revenues must go to GRZ. This applies to all military businesses. Please remedy this serious abnormally without any further delay.

  3. We already have IDC which performing badly The last time figures were published only one or two companies were turning a profit from a portfolio of over 20 companies. ZNSha not met the mandate of maintaining rural roads and bridges. The state of feeder roads I’d pathetic. Why start something new when you haven’t met initial task? I was bemused to hear of Eagles events company. Surely is ZNS going to be competing with Girls PR and the likes or cooking matebeto at weddings and national events. Where are our priorities? In the midst of this punishing drought and power outages???? Eish!!!

  4. This is the way to go. We need a strong Military/Industrial complex to develop. This is the Chinese Model. ZNS should now incorporate higher institutions of learning for Research and Development

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    • it is not the chineese model! No. What you are suggesting is very very dangerous. Just look at where Sudan is now. Is that what you want. Military should have nothing to do with owning industries. It recipe for disaster.

  5. INDECO is back but just in another form! Who will control all these companies? Does the ZNS boss have Business experience? Are the different entities going to be run by different managers who in the end will employ their relatives?
    Were all the nuts tightened before coming up with such or was it a yes Bwana idea?

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