Below is the full speech delivered this morning.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Elections
- 3 Parliamentary Affairs
- 4 Socio-Economic Affairs
- 5 National Development Agenda
- 6 2012 National Budget
- 7 Core Programmes
- 8 Education Development
- 9 Health Services
- 10 Agriculture Development
- 11 Local Government and Housing Development
- 12 Infrastructure Development
- 13 Social Protection
- 14 Youth Empowerment
- 15 Commerce, Trade and Industry
- 16 Manufacturing Sector
- 17 Energy Development
- 18 Governance and he Administration of the State
- 19 Tourism
I am delighted to address this august house on the opening of the first session of the eleventh national assembly under the patriotic front government. Allow me to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your deserved election to this esteemed position in the house. Let me also congratulate the deputy speaker and the deputy chairperson of committees of the whole house on their election to these important positions.
The responsibility placed upon you by this august house is enormous. It is the expectation of our people that in discharging your duties you will be impartial and that you will at all times uphold the dignity, honour and decorum of the house. It is for this reason that the patriotic front nominated for speaker of this house a learned and distinguished judge and one who is not politically affiliated to any political party.
In the same vein, i wish to congratulate all the Honourable Members of Parliament on their election to this house. I equally congratulate the nominated members of parliament. The great task before us now as members of this house is to effectively contribute to the development of our great nation.
This being the first meeting of the house following the recent general elections, allow me to pay tribute to the immediate past speaker, Honourable Amusaa Mwanamwambwa, for the very able manner in which he presided over the affairs of the house during his tenure of office despite the many challenges that he faced. I wish him well and every success in all his future endeavours.
Let me also express my profound gratitude to the people of Zambia for electing me as their president. I feel most honoured and humbled for the confidence they have reposed in me to steer under patriotic front the destiny of our country for the next five years. I am further grateful that the people of Zambia have overwhelmingly given the patriotic front the mandate to govern this great country.
Let me also take this opportunity to commend all those who exercised their democratic right to stand as candidates at the local government, parliamentary and presidential levels during the just ended elections. I would also like to thank my predecessor his excellency Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda for the smooth transition which has become a symbol of our democracy. This peaceful change of government is a reflection of the further entrenchment of democracy in our country. We should indeed be proud as a people for such a remarkable achievement.
Now that elections are behind us it is time for us all to focus on forging ahead with the development of our country. On my part, I wish to reiterate my pledge to make zambia a better place for all in line with our pf vision which is, and I quote: “The citizens of this great land not only deserve better lives but are entitled to better lives.”
To all my colleagues in PF and the opposition, I say, it is time to put Zambia first in the interest of achieving our social and economic development.
I would like to salute the people of zambia regardless of their political affiliation for peacefully participating in this year’s elections. Our people’s spirit demonstrates the well renowned peaceful character and maturity of the Zambian people and the respect which we accord one another as we elect our leaders.
This is as it should be in a democratic country. I am fully aware that there were many challenges that voters experienced before and during the elections. However in spite of these challenges our people were not deterred from exercising their universal right to vote and usher in a government of their choice. Zambia has yet again recorded a plus as an oasis of peace.
Let me also state here that the PF government is committed to ensuring that ballot papers for future elections are printed locally. My government will do everything possible to realise this.
My commendations also go to the chairperson and staff of the electoral commission of Zambia for working tirelessly in conducting the just ended tripartite elections successfully under difficult conditions. Lack of consensus on some issues, the late delivery of electoral materials, late opening of some polling stations and delayed announcement of the election results, were some of the major challenges.
My government commits itself to addressing these issues in order to enhance the capacity of the electoral commission of Zambia and bring it in line with the expectations of our democratic dispensation.
I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the people of zambia to all local as well as international election observer missions who spent time to monitor our elections.
Parliament, being one of the three arms of government is an important institution in the governance of this country. It does not only make laws of the land but also provides checks and balances on the executive. As a people’s representative body, our parliament should be seen to be working in accordance with the aspirations of the people despite their station in life. It must be a symbol of hope for them.
In this regard, the pf government will work with parliament to accelerate the implementation of the on-going parliamentary reforms in order to make the institution more accessible, responsive and accountable to the people.
I wish to call on our cooperating partners to continue supporting us in our effort to transform our parliament in order to enhance our democracy. We further invite other cooperating partners to come forward and assist us in this process.
Zambia will this month be celebrating 47 years of independence amidst high poverty levels in the country. Despite being endowed with a lot of natural resources, the country has continued to face staggering poverty levels and low formal sector employment opportunities.
The recently pronounced economic growth characterized by the classification of zambia as a middle income country for the country’s economic performance is meaningless if it has only a limited impact on poverty reduction amongst our people.
I would like to see that the pronouncements in economic performance translate into substantial reduction in poverty indicators in our communities all over the country.
The challenge of my government is, therefore, to improve the quality of life for the majority of our people, especially those in rural areas. Our goal as a pf government is to achieve higher and sustained economic growth that will uplift the well-being of the poor in our society.
To this end, the patriotic front government will introduce programmes to accelerate the socio-economic empowerment of citizens, especially the youth and women. Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament,
Offering employment opportunities for our people, especially the many young men and women leaving educational institutions in our country is critical to the fulfillment of the pf manifesto which promises job creation and putting more money in our people’s pockets.
My government shall concentrate its efforts on skills training and creating self-employment opportunities, especially for the youth of our country. The PF electoral victory achieved in the just ended elections is owed in large measure to our young generation.
It is them who were among the large numbers of our citizens that worked so hard to bring about this change. We, therefore, owe them jobs by creating employment opportunities when they graduate from colleges and universities.
My government shall eradicate all forms of discrimination against women and hence create equal employment opportunities for all our citizens. This will be done through equipping Zambians with the skills and business enterprise know-how and the financing needed for self employment and entry into the formal sector.
National Development Agenda
The patriotic front government recognizes that achieving these goals and putting the country on the path for sustainable growth will require a well planned development agenda.
Our development agenda is simple as it emphasizes the need for government to promote pro-poor growth for the vulnerarble in our society. My government, therefore, commits itself to streamlining the development planning and finance portfolios.
Medium and long term planning will continue to be the guiding framework for the country’s national development with priority given to key programmes aimed at poverty reduction and wealth creation.
We shall in this regard develop home grown social and economic development programmes and ensure that all set bench-marks in sector ministries are achieved within the prescribed time frame. We shall promote through the bank of Zambia favourable interest rates to facilitate borrowing and investment by the private sector and individuals.
2012 National Budget
Constitutionally, it is the role of this august house to approve the annual national budget. It is in this regard that government will soon bring to this august house the 2012 estimates of revenue and expenditure for consideration.
This being the first budget under the pf-led government to begin to fulfill its promises, and in view of the significant financial commitments made by the past government on road rehabilitation and other forms of expenditure, it is necessary that we undertake a more comprehensive review of these projects and their associated cost against the 2012 budget.
My government has prioritized key development policies and programmes which once implemented will spur development and assure our people of a decent living standard. The four core development programmes are education development, health services, agriculture development, local government and housing development.
These four sector programmes will be supported by other sectors such as infrastructure development, social protection, commerce, trade and industry, energy and tourism.
Our government regards education as a key to unlocking the human potential leading to prosperity and national development. Currently the whole education system requires extensive review. Primary and secondary education is characterized by low enrollment levels and poor education standards.
A growing number of our population is increasingly losing confidence in our education system to the extent that some parents are now sending their children to private schools at a high cost.
Our universities and colleges do not only have dilapidated infrastructure but are also faced with a shortage of staff and appropriate teaching and learning materials.The PF education policy will, therefore, aim at increasing school enrollment and improving access, quality and relevance of academic education through curriculum review at all levels.
Further, our government will provide facilities for early childhood education, re-introduce compulsory primary and secondary education and establish universities and technical colleges in every province and rehabilitate the existing ones.
Staff recruitment will also be scaled up to meet the demand in these institutions. To this end, my government will review the education act of 2011 to bring it in line with patriotic front’s education policy.
Furthermore, the PF government will prioritize information and communication technology education from as early as primary school. Our government will enhance tertiary education and ensure that our graduates are able to compete at the international level.
As evidence of my government’s commitment in this regard, Chalimbana college and Palabana will be converted into fully fledged universities of international standards.
The Honourable Minister of Education must ensure that this programme is completed within 18 months.
In order to honour the birth place of our founding father Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, who served our country with honour and dignity for 27 years, and set the first example of a peaceful handover of power in our country and on the African continent in 1991, our government will develop Lubwa mission in Chinsali District into a university.
Mr. Speaker, honorable members,
Good health of our citizens is a vital pre-condition for national development. Our health service delivery system is presently characterised by insufficient provision of health care due to inadequate, over worked and poorly remunerated and de-motivated human resource, shortages of essential drugs, dilapidated health infrastructure, including a lack of staff accommodation among others.
In view of the grave state of affairs in the health sector, the PF government will address obstacles to the provision of health care services. This will include increasing budgetary allocation to the sector, improving the work culture and intensifying the construction and rehabilitation of health infrastructure such as hospitals, clinics and Health Centres.
Our government will also ensure that these facilities are adequately staffed and stocked with a wide range of essential drugs, equipment and other medical supplies. Collaboration with other stakeholders such as mission and private health institutions will be enhanced so as to increase access to health care services by our people especially in rural areas, including providing training for community members.
Furthermore, our government will promote close collaboration with the traditional healing system so as to complement conventional medicine.
Zambia has a huge agricultural potential which if fully exploited can significantly contribute to employment and wealth creation for the majority of our young people and women who continue to live in abject poverty especially in our villages and townships.
This should never be the case in a country which is so richly endowed with good soils, good climatic conditions and weather patterns as well as abundant water resources.
In the past, the previous governments’ agricultural policies gave prominence to the growing of maize which is our staple food, at the expense of other equally viable crops such as cassava and millet without providing adequate storage facilities for maize resulting in the wastage of the crop at times.
My government is committed to reversing this negative trend and ensuring that there is a diversification in the crops grown by our small scale farmers. To achieve this, my government will tailor subsidies, market guarantees and extension services towards production of specific crops in particular areas of the country, taking into account weather patterns and natural resource endowment among other factors.
To this end, key crops will be identified in each province through the participation by the local people for promotion and support by government.
The ministry of finance and national planning shall over the coming years provide development funds based on such crop endowments for the purpose of creating a conducive environment supported by a sound infrastructure system. This will create opportunities for increased production and income generation for our people.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
To avoid perennial wastage of crops, our government will construct additional modern storage facilities and rehabilitate existing ones which have lacked maintenance over the years.
This will go hand in hand with measures aimed at guaranteeing a ready market especially for our emerging farmers in rural areas. Our government will, therefore, complement the private sector by being a buyer of last resort.
We shall as a matter of urgency review the operations of the food reserve agency and the relevant legislation in order to rationalise its management and functions including its role in maintaining strategic reserves and enhance its sustainability.
To ensure that the farmer input support programme benefits the intended small scale farmers my government will review the delivery regime and explore the involvement of the traditional authorities.
Government support under this programme will be provided with a view of enabling farmers to be weaned-off and allow for a re-evaluation of the programme in each year. Further, in order to encourage progressive farmers to make long term investment in customary land our government in consultation with chiefs and other traditional authorities will introduce legislation to ensure security of tenure for such land.
To make the agricultural sector more responsive to the local conditions my government will decentralise research services to the district level in order to bring the services as close to the farmers as possible.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
The PF government appreciates the critical role our commercial farmers play in ensuring national food security and employment creation. My government will, therefore, provide a conducive environment in which our commercial farmers will continue to operate productively. For the record, PF does not intend to compulsorily acquire or forcibly take possession of commercial farming land from any farmer.
Our people in southern, western and parts of Lusaka and Northern Provinces have had their herds of cattle wiped out by livestock diseases thereby depriving them of their source of livelihood.
In addition we have not been able to export meat products to the european markets on account of these diseases. This situation needs to be reversed through effective livestock disease control programmes.
My government will, therefore, prioritise livestock re-stocking, and make dipping, vaccination and treatment of diseases of all cattle compulsory. This shall include revamping of the Balmoral research station in Kafue district to ensure the development and production of suitable vaccines in the fight against animal diseases.
In addition my government will establish breeding centres in relevant provinces to enable farmers to have access to good quality breeding stock and thereby ensuring that they have more money in their pockets.
Further, my government will establish joint livestock disease control commissions with relevant neighbouring countries for purposes of monitoring and combating outbreaks.
Many of our people in Western, Southern, Luapula and Northern provinces depend on fish farming for their livelihood. My government notes with grave concern the rapid depletion of the fish stock and species in our rivers and lakes thereby depriving many of our local people of their source of livelihood.
To reverse this trend, my government will review and strengthen the institutional framework and streamline the management of fisheries. Government will also promote commercial and small holder aqua-culture as well as joint management of fisheries resources with local communities.
Further, government will enforce the sadc protocol on fisheries in collaboration with other neighbouring member- states.
As I have already alluded to this country is endowed with abundant surface and underground water bodies. My government is concerned that these have not been sufficiently harnessed for national development leaving agriculture to be solely dependent on the unpredictable weather patterns as a consequence of global climatic change.
To address this, the pf government will invest in appropriate water harvesting technologies to make water available to farmers for irrigation all year round.
Local Government and Housing Development
The Patriotic Front government appreciates the critical role local government plays as an engine for delivering services, infrastructure and development to the local communities.
As a signatory to the habitat agenda and the Istanbul declaration of 1996, Zambia committed herself to promoting decentralisation through democratic local authorities and strengthening their financial capacities.
Unfortunately in the last two decades, the country has witnessed greater centralization and consequently drastic erosion of the revenue base of local authorities. This situation has rendered the functioning of local authorities ineffective to the extent that service delivery has been compromised with infrastructure in districts being in a very dilapidated state.
The majority of our people especially in rural areas and high density townships have only limited access to portable water and lack proper sanitation services leading to endemic waterborne diseases such as cholera every year.
The traditional leaders who are closest to the people in rural areas have been left out in the local governance system, save for their role of appointing a symbolic representative to the council.
In recognition of the important role traditional leaders are supposed to play in national development, it has become necessary to create a new ministry of chiefs and traditional affairs.
The PF government is therefore, committed to establishing a system of local government which will promote local economic development, improved delivery of essential infrastructure and services through local self government.
Our government will also devise an appropriate formula for sharing national taxes collected at the centre within the jurisdiction of every local authority in order to strengthen their revenue base and ensure that all government grants are remitted on time.
Our government will further introduce a social housing scheme that will empower councils to construct low cost houses from government guaranteed loans.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
I note with concern the chronic poor water supply and sanitation services in our localities. This has lead to the endemic outbreaks of water borne diseases such as cholera every year.
Our government will, therefore, re-introduce the water, sanitation and sewerage grants to utility companies to enable them to maintain and upgrade the water and sewerage infrastructure in the urban and peri-urban areas.
Our government will also ensure that more resources are allocated to the rural water supply and sanitation programme to local authorities. To enable our people especially in rural areas to have some source of regular income, my government will place deliberate emphasis on undertaking and promoting the development of infrastructure projects using labour-intensive techniques thereby, guaranteeing employment opportunities.
This will translate into more money in our people’s pockets.
To promote decentralisation and active involvement of traditional leaders in the governance of the country below the district council level my government will introduce ward village councils, district chiefs councils and provincial chiefs councils.
To achieve this my government in collaboration with key stakeholders will review both the local government act and the chiefs act and other relevant pieces of legislation.
The Honourable Ministers of chiefs and traditional affairs and local government, early education and environment, must ensure that this programme is completed within 18 months.
Although the constituency development fund (CDF) was intended to enhance national development through district councils it has been abused in the past. Accordingly the Honourable Minister of local government, early education and environment must ensure that an audit is undertaken to establish accountability of the cdf during the last financial year before any review or disbursement of further CDF moneys.
in line with the PF government’s resolve to streamline local administrative structures within government, my government will in due course, create a tenth province in Zambia to be called muchinga province.
This province will be created by dividing northern province into two regions. Muchinga province will comprise the districts located east of the Chambeshi river, namely: Mpika, Chinsali, Isoka, Nakonde and Mafinga.
The location of the provincial headquarters will be determined after consultations have been concluded with stakeholders.
Infrastructure development is key to realizing sustainable economic development. Poor infrastructure limits economic opportunities for our people and therefore poses a major barrier to the achievement of meaningful national development.
I note with sadness that under the previous government investment in infrastructure development was haphazard, poor, and the pace of development too slow to meet the aspirations of our people.
It is equally worrying that Zambia has experienced more than five years of record high mineral prices and production boom without much to show for it in terms of contribution to infrastructure development or government revenue.The negative fiscal policies of the previous government, corruption and mismanagement of public financial resources are largely to blame for this poor state of affairs.
In order to redress this situation the patriotic front government shall ensure provision of sound fiscal policies aimed at broadening the tax base to mobilize sufficient domestic resources for development for all the ten provinces.To this effect, the government shall commit a substantial part of the national annual development budget to infrastructure development.
Priority will be given to the completion of the on-going projects involving construction of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and health centres after review of these projects before embarking on new ones.
We shall embark on resource mobilisation to rehabilitate or construct the Vubwi road via the palace of paramount chief Mpezeni in Eastern province; the Chadiza-Katete road; the Lusaka-Mikango barracks road to Chirundu up to the Luangwa bridge via Feira and the Palabana road leading to the lower Zambezi; the Chalimbana road up to the lower Zambezi.
We shall also work on the Kalongola/Kalabo/Sikongo road, Kalulushi/Kasempa road, Mumbwa/Kasempa road and Kasempa/Kaoma road.
In order to link western and north western provinces we shall build the Kaoma/Lukulu/Zambezi road and also build a road to link Kabompo and Mwinilunga district. In Luapula we shall construct the road from Nchelenge to Chienge up to Kaputa into Kasama in Northern province.
We also need an all weather road between Luwingu and Kapatu mission and Kapatu mission to Nondo.
In addition to the above listed roads we shall build a road from Samfya to Luwingu and Kawambwa to Luwingu, Kawambwa to Mporokoso, Mununga to Mporokoso.
Other areas where we shall build our road network are Mansa to Chipili up to Kawambwa which shall extend to Mporokoso.
We shall also link Mununga and Mporokoso and Mbala and Nakonde.
Other roads shall run from Isoka to Chama in Eastern province and Isoka and Kasama. We also need a viable road from Zimba to Siavonga via Gwembe district in Southern province.
The chronic poverty which the country has been experiencing has continued to be a major obstacle to vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with disabilities.
This sad state of affairs is not only a denial of citizens’ fundamental social and economic rights but is also a lost opportunity for the country to develop a sound economic and social future for all.
The patriotic front government shall pursue all possible means to ensure a dignified life for all citizens, especially those who are unable to create security and livelihoods for themselves.
The government shall adopt a vibrant social protection policy aimed at ensuring that all citizens have access to basic social services such as education, health, water and sanitation.
The policy shall also address the needs of the vulnerable groups that face special challenges such as the disabled and street children. In line with this specific measures will be taken to strengthen the existing social safety-net and protection programmes.
One such programme is the social cash transfer scheme which unfortunately is currently fully funded by donors thereby making it unsustainable and restrictive.
My government will in collaboration with cooperating partners work out measures to improve the scheme and make it more sustainable by gradually supporting it from our domestic resources in the national budget.
The other social safety-net and protection programme that the pf government shall expand is the food security pack programme aimed at enhancing food and nutrition security among vulnerable small scale farmers.
The main focus of this programme is to gradually wean-off the beneficiaries as they graduate into emergent small scale farmers.
In order to improve the welfare of people with disabilities, government will domesticate a number of united nations conventions on the rights of persons with disabilities which Zambia is a party to.
My government is also determined to support women’s participation in economically viable activities. To this effect, it will increase funding to the women’s development programmes under the ministry of community development, mother and child health.
The need to reform the social security system is imperative. It is evidently clear that the administration of the social security system under the previous government, has left the majority of our workers destitute upon retirement.
Thousands of former workers do not only get insufficient retirement benefits, but also have to endure many years of waiting for them to be paid these benefits. Many of them have died without receiving their terminal benefits. My government will move quickly to comprehensively address these long outstanding social and economic injustices in the management of our social security schemes.
Accordingly my government will review all the relevant pieces of legislation governing social security schemes in order to bring them in line with the needs of the beneficiaries and hence eradicate rampant corruption in this sector.
The last twenty years of the previous government have failed to effectively integrate the youth in national development. The majority of our youth have poor education, lack formal skills and consequently remain without jobs which would enable them to earn a living and hence contribute to national development.
In order to address this, the pf government will among other things, enhance the capacity of the Zambia national service by transforming it into the Zambia youth training service, so that the various camps throughout the country are turned into non-military skills training centres.
Commerce, Trade and Industry
Commerce, trade and industry is at the centre of economic growth and development and, therefore, strategic in creating jobs and wealth for our people. Zambia is blessed with abundant enterprising talent among its population. However, this talent has not been fully exploited because the business environment has not been conducive. This has been largely due to the lopsided policies of the previous government which tended to favour foreigners at the expense of our local investors and business people. While Zambia will continue to welcome foreign direct investment (FDI) it must be understood that the most sustainable and lasting investment must come from the Zambian citizens. Fdi, important as it is, should not be a replacement of the efforts of the citizens themselves.
In this regard the pf government will encourage Zambian citizens both at home and abroad to develop joint ventures with foreign investors. Government will assist in this area by facilitating the provision of resources such as land, electricity, information and empowerment fund. To this end the loan management processing systems at the citizens economic empowerment commission will be streamlined to expedite the process of disbursing funds to our people who seek to venture into business.
Many of our small scale business men and women have difficulties accessing credit financing for their business development largely due to high interest rates. My government will engage the banking sector with a view to reducing the interest rates. Further, we shall seek to expand appropriate micro credit financing to small scale enterprises.
Mr. Speaker, honourable members,
The reckless privatization programme carried out under the previous government that gave away most of our strategic national industries contributed to the demise of our manufacturing sector. This has resulted in massive job losses among our people and contributed to the current high poverty levels.
My government will rejuvenate the manufacturing sector through the promotion of public-private partnership investment, in order to enhance the establishment of competative manufacturing industries whose products will find markets outside Zambia. This sector is important for employment creation for our people.
While appreciating the benefits of international and regional trade, my government will not allow Zambia to be used as a dumping ground of goods that our own companies and enterprises can produce locally.
To this effect, we shall carefully study the existing trade protocols with a view to making them mutually beneficial to Zambia and our trading partners. We will also continue to engage in trade negotiations with different trading partners at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels for additional market access for Zambian goods and services.
Energy is a prerequisite for the proper functioning of all sectors of the economy. Its availability and quality determines the success or failure of national development programmes.
The energy sector in this country has not been developed to its full potential, thereby limiting its accessibility by the population and hampering socio-economic development.
With regard to electricity, the country has experienced a rise in demand mainly from the mining industry while less than 2% of our people in rural areas have access to electricity.
Consequently, this has impacted negatively on the pace of industrial development and the standard of living of our people. This is a challenge which my government is more than determined to address.
To this end, the pf government will accelerate and scale up public-private partnership investment in hydro-power generation by significantly expanding the installed capacity so as to meet domestic and regional demand.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
It is disheartening to note that while the petroleum sub-sector is burdened by high taxes, the situation is worsened by the engagement of middlemen who are involved in importing the commodity resulting in high fuel pump prices. This situation has contributed to the high commodity prices and the cost of doing business which have both affected the cost of life of our people.
To address these challenges my government will put measures to reduce taxes and levies on fuel and eliminate artificial costs associated with corruption in procurement of fuel, especially amounts paid to middlemen.
It is expected that the reduction in the pump price of petrol and diesel will translate into a reduction of mealie meal prices and other related commodities including transport.
Governance and he Administration of the State
Under the previous government the public service has been under performing largely as a result of a de-motivated workforce arising from heavily politicized appointments and poor conditions of service. In order to strengthen the public service the pf government shall ensure that appointments and promotions to all public service positions are made on merit.
The PF government attaches great importance to good governance and we are committed to delivering a new people driven constitution within ninety days. To this effect, we are in the process of consulting stakeholders with a view of establishing a committee of experts to review the recommendations of all previous constitutional review commissions in order to come up with a draft people’s constitution.
The draft constitution will be subjected to a referendum and subsequently presented to parliament for enactment.
The PF government will also promote good governance through strengthening the governance institutions and ensuring strict accountability. You will recall that in my inaugural speech, i alluded to the fact that our country has huge problems which have been compounded by acts of bad governance and fiscal irresponsibility in recent years.
The PF government firmly stands for the rule of law and social justice.
With regard to corruption, i wish to reiterate what i have always said before, that my government will fight corruption in all its forms with commitment and vigour. The patriotic front government wants to put more money in the pockets of many Zambians while corruption puts more money into pockets of a few individuals. This programme is not an after-thought but a platform on which we campaigned and were elected by the Zambian people on this undertaking.
Over the years the public has lost confidence in the anti-corruption commission to spearhead the fight against corruption. To restore public confidence in the commission the pf government shall amend the anti-corruption commission act in order to introduce much stiffer penalties for corruption offenses, re-instate the abuse of office clause, and increase the budgetary allocation to the commission.
We shall also domesticate international protocols on the fight against corruption. I must equally call on all Zambians, especially those running businesses and those who come to do business in our country to refrain from corrupt practices.
My appeal to the civil society and the anti-corruption movements is to double their programmes of education and monitoring corruption in all strategic institutions that are prone to corruption.
I am sounding a timely warning that my government has taken a zero-tolerance stance against corruption in both the public and private sectors.
Those who allow themselves to engage in corruption must know that they are taking a serious risk and that once caught they will be prosecuted irrespective of their status or position.
We will investigate any past acts of corruption by all those responsible and prosecute culprits within the due process of the law. Our country needs a new beginning which gives hope to our people, that those who are entrusted with public office shall use the offices to serve, and not to steal from the people who elected them for such service.
Let me take this opportunity to address this august house on yet another important sector in our economic development. A tourism industry based on a well-designed government policy and programme can be an important driving force in boosting our economy.
It can contribute to the increase in the GDP per capita within a short period of time. It can also contribute to the creation of employment opportunities for our people. However, the tourism industry in its present state has failed to make any meaningful contribution to Zambia’s economic development due to poor infrastructure, un-economic routes, poor marketing of Zambia as a tourist destination of choice and unstable exchange rates.
Consequently, Zambia is one of the most expensive and least known destinations for visiting tourists in the southern African region. In order for us to preserve our wildlife for tourism, we must also put measures in place to control the problem of human-animal conflict in game management areas which has led to increased levels of hunger and poverty amongst our people.
My government, in recognition of this important industry will ensure that growth in resource based tourism is environmentally sustainable and hence preserved for our future generations.
We shall without delay introduce policies to make investment in the sector attractive and profitable to both local and foreign investment. We shall promote well targetted government investment in infrastructure development and hence open up new tourism sites in the country.
It is the desire of my government to collaborate with the private sector so as to enhance the effective marketing of the sector locally and internationally. In this regard we shall enhance the status of the city of Livingstone as a tourist capital by relocating the provincial capital for the southern province from Livingstone to Choma.
The Honourable Minister of information and tourism must ensure that this programme is completed in 24 months time.
In concluding my address to this August House, I would like to say to our people, that we shall use the mandate which they gave to me and the patriotic front, to transform Zambia into a viable economy which will in turn give dignity to our people in their social and economic areas of life.
We shall keep our doors open to new ideas from citizens and stakeholders at large. The pf historic victory on 20th September 2011 was our people’s victory, and we must all work hard to bring about the transformation of our country into a society in which we shall all live with pride and dignity for now and for the future generations to come.
On my part, I undertake to you all, and to our citizens, in line with the oath of office which I took on Friday 23rd September 2011, that I shall as President, together with my government, exercise the duties you have entrusted unto us, with diligence, and in the interest of this nation and its citizens.
May god bless you all and our country Zambia.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you.