THE 5th session of the 11th National Assembly opened yesterday with President Edgar Lungu unequivocally giving out his whole about the state of the economy, emphasising that he felt the anguish of the suffering Zambians no more than any other citizen.
President Lungu has told Zambians that he understood their economic frustrations and staked his all by taking full responsibility of the frustrations of the Zambian masses offering that their economic anguish fell squarely on his shoulders.
And President Lungu has spelt out his vision for the country and has outlined Zambia’s developmental trajectory spanning over 50 years, declaring that Zambia would be a totally different country at its centenary independence jubilee.
President Lungu envisioned that by the year 20164, Zambia would have been transformed into an economic infrastructure hub particularly in areas of information communication technology and power generation and distribution among other sectors.
The Head of State said he was making his inaugural address to the National Assembly at a time when the nation was facing the most challenging energy shortage since the founding of the nation stating that the power rationing due to reduced water levels had impacted severely on the lives of Zambians.
“I hear the cry of that welder whose income has dwindled due to power load-shedding; that hair-dresser, that kitchen runner who cannot put up with the repeated power disruptions. I feel the frustrations of those workshop mechanics, the barbershop and the market stall owners whose income has declined as a result of power shortage. I feel your pain. I share your frustrations. No one feels the anguish of the current power shortage more than I do…the burden of your frustrations falls squarely on my shoulders,” President Lungu said.
The President however gave hope to Zambians even on the face of future economic challenges telling Zambians that his Government was rapidily moving to address the power shortage.
The President in his address themed: “Embracing Transformational culture for smart Zambia”, said Zambians needed to change their thought power and in the way they did things because they deserved the best.
The President in his address called for innovation, entrepreneurship and adopting a new paradigm in resolving the current and future socio-economic challenges as well as embracing technology to simplify and quicken the provision of service.
President Lungu explained that the immediate, medium and long term measures his government was undertaking in addressing the current power deficit would have a gradual reduction on the power rationing leading to an eventual surplus within the next 18 months.
President Lungu also voiced his worry about tribalism stating that hardly a say passed without him hearing connotations of tribalism and regionalism, the vices he were divisive and only promoted disunity and anarchy among Zambians.
The Head of State said he had embarked on a crusade to promote unity in the country because he abhorred regionalism and ethnicity, stating that he would continue meeting and enlisting the wisdom of the traditional leaders and other stakeholders in dealing with the vices.
“As a practical measure to resolve the vice, I am directing the Minister of Chiefs’ and Traditional to work closely with their royal highnesses in resolving outstanding wrangles between chiefdoms. I also wish to encourage other political leaders to join me in this crusade against tribalism in our society,” President Lungu said.
The President has also directed that the cooperative movement should be reinstated because they were key to the county’s trade and economic progression stating that Zambia would have gained miles in development had the country continued with the cooperative model of enterprises.
The Head of State said vibrant cooperatives world over had been known to play a vital role in national development both economic and social revealing that the cooperatives were immensely contributing to the economies of Europe, Asia, America and some African countries.
“There is need for us to embrace cooperatives in our national development agenda. It is a sustainable means of addressing high levels of unemployment and poverty,” the President said.