Lusaka - President Edgar Lungu says Zambia’s growth agenda has been frustrated by harsh weather conditions, falling copper prices, energy deficiencies and the global COVID-19 panda.
Opening the 5th Session of the 12th National Assembly In Lusaka this past week, President Lungu said his government remained optimistic that the challenges would be overcome and his administration would meet various growth benchmarks.
“As a government, we were given the mandate to reduce poverty and create prosperity for our people. We have delivered on that mandate and continue to deliver. We have delivered on infrastructure. We have delivered on social protection. We have delivered in education and health, to mention but a few. And we will continue to deliver” he said.
He went on: “As a people, we will not give up. We will remain dedicated to overcoming our current difficulties. We will keep the faith and believe in our future. Together, we can do it, and we will do it.”
Opening the session under the theme: “Dedication, resilience and innovation: pursuing economic recovery for the Zambia we want” President Lungu said the novel coronavirus had taken its toll on lives and livelihoods.
The pandemic, he noted, had underscored the importance of import substitution as international trade was constrained by public health protocols.
“As horrifying as the COVID-19 pandemic has been, it has given us an opportunity as humanity to change the way we do things and do them better. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to gaps and opportunities around us. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to us that we can form cooperative shops and sell our local produce to ourselves without hindrance and disdain,” Zambia’s Head of State and Government said.
On the country’s domestic and external debt, President Lungu assured lawmakers of his government’s resolve to service its obligations through sustainable macroeconomic management and private sector investment.
“A rebound of our economy is projected in 2021 subject to the COVID-19 pandemic being contained. The implementation of supportive policy measures will further stimulate the economy and put us on a solid path to recovery.“
President Lungu stated that the 2021 National Budget - which to be presented in Parliament this month - would spur recovery through diversification and job creation.