Defence Minister Davies Chama says Government will increase staffing levels in the defence force to equal the assignments that soldiers undertake. Mr Chama said the defence force needs to have adequate numbers of personnel to meet the aspirations of citizens and contribute to national development.
The minister said this on Friday at Zambia National Service (ZNS) Kabwe Training School during a pass-out parade of 420 military personnel for the recruit’s intake 23 of 2017. “I am alive to the fact that the depleted manpower levels in all the three defence wings may prove to be a setback in our potency towards attaining that goal of carrying out full scale agriculture production,” Mr Chama said.
Mr Chama said President Edgar Lungu appreciates the need for continuous recruitments in the defence force to maintain sustainable manpower levels. He said adequate human resource in the defence force is important in enhancing efficiency and promptness in the conduct of operations that Government may from time to time assign the defence force.
“My ministry is, therefore, making frantic efforts to ensure that we marshal funds for training purposes to enable the service to conduct continuous training programmes that will see the replacement of serviceman and women who are leaving the services due to retirement and death among others,” he said.
Mr Chama said ZNS has for many years been a critical player in defending Zambia’s territorial sovereignty, contributing to national food security, rehabilitation of roads and training of youths in skills development. He urged ZNS to continue opening up rural areas by improving the road network to increase agricultural production.
“I, therefore, expect all Zambia National Service officers, servicemen and women, including you who are passing out today, to take food production, youth skills training and rural roads construction seriously,” he said.
Earlier, ZNS Commandant Nathan Mulenga said the command will not relent in facilitating the improvement of the state of roads in rural areas.
Lieutenant-General Mulenga said opening up of roads in rural areas is an important undertaking in the country.
“It is true that the rural populace forms the majority of agricultural producers and contributors to our national food basket,” he said. He said ZNS is increasingly getting involved in national development programmes in agriculture, infrastructure development and empowerment programmes in line with Government’s development agenda.