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Friday, 30 September 2016

Let’s embrace an energy mix, Lungu advises, warns ………’We must not wait until we are in another energy crisis before we act’

Zambia's energy crisis can't be over emphasis-needs a quick fix.pix: SADC.com
Sept. 30 (Zambia Informer) -----“We must not wait until we are in another energy crisis before we act.......instead, we must bolster our position from now on and use it to situate ourselves in regard to renewable energy” President Lungu has warned.

Zambia has in recent months been buffeted in an energy crisis, crippled by power outages as the country continues relying on ageing hydro power generating equipment coupled by low water shortages in main reservoirs following a drought that swept the Southern African Development Community (SADC), leaving many countries wallowing in abject poverty.

Zambia, generates a paltry 2,317 megawatts of power in which the mining sector consumes 50 percent, leaving the rest to be shared between industrial and domestic consumers, fueling power failure as the industrial base as energy consumption in the 14 million populated Southern African state rises threefold amid efforts by Government to grow the economy.

However, President Lungu is alive to the country’s energy predicament and notes the urgency for quick fix solutions to ensure the crisis is nipped in the bud through resorting to other energy options including biomass, geothermal and solar as the grid situation continues failing Zambia.

President Lungu told lawmakers when he officially opened Parliament Friday that the current situation of a grid based electricity supply is under stress and with the unpredictable nature of rainfall patterns, Zambia needs to re-think electricity supply and pronounce clearly that the country’s energy strategy will be a combination of clean renewable  energies alongside the grid.

Energy dependence, President Lungu added, must be a strategy for all areas of Zambia. Zambia is still in a situation of unavoidable but disruptive load shedding that the country has experienced since last year and development which has weighed heavily on the economic gains of the country and ultimately affected many Zambians as a result.

It is the president’s desire that a quick evaluation is undertaken tyo ensure the country devises ways of how to source energy, understand the type of energy to use, who owns it while ensuring that energy sourced is cheaper, abundant and reliable for as many Zambians as possible.

“Access to energy creates a landscape of opportunity for the people” President Lungu added. He reiterated  Government’s resolve to demonstrate a strong commitment to promotion of renewable forms including solar and biogas energies

“……Zambia must urgently lay the foundation for a flourishing renewable energy industry, Zambia must create a path to energy independence, energy poverty must end.”

Zambia to pursue seventh National Development Plan to accelerate growth ……. President Lungu calls upon all to embrace hard work to induce affluence

President Lungu---seeks to promote and enhance a robust diversfied programme
Sept. 30 (Zambia Informer)------“We must all invest in hard work that must lead all of us to a place of affluence…..This we can do as a united, peaceful and democratic society” says President Edgar Lungu.

In his key note address to lawmakers when he officiated at the First Session of the 12th National Assembly in Lusaka, Friday, President Lungu  has great hope in the patience and resilience of the people and does not doubt Zambia being a common heritage and it remaining a common inheritance in which all Zambians should unite and work towards national building amid plenty resources.

Speaking under the theme: “Building an integrated multi-sectoral approach to development that enhances inclusiveness in development without leaving anyone behind” as a rallying cry, President Lungu says the Government’s focus in the next five years and beyond will be premised on the developmental milestone that the Government shall endeavor to achieve under the guidance of the seventh National Development Plan, intended to achieve a resilient and diversified economy.

Zambia espouses to move its economy fromm its current heavy dependenance on copper to one based on agriculture, livestock and fisheries and their entire value chain which is expected to continue  in a more robust manner.

Under the five year mandate-seeing his administration until 2021, President Lungu, which although is not enough time to undertake some decernt work upon which the Government shall seek a fresh mandate from the electorate, there is need for concerted efforts to maximize on the available resources and develop the economy through diversified approach unlike previously where copper was the country’s mainstay.

President Lungu told lawmakers that his administration will seek to focus and place high priority on industrialization of the economy, ostensibly to  create more jobs and wealth for the people that deserve better of the country’s wealth and ‘tow’ them out of poverty hence the neded for all to rise to the challenge and make a better Zambia that should create enough wealth for all to share equitably.

Government envisions maximizing on its raw materials from crops including ground nuts, soya beans and sunflower that can in turn be processed into peanut butter, cooking oil and stockfeed and enhancing local market as well as maximizing on the export market to make real returns.

This is perception is premised on Zambia being centrally located and surrounded by eight neighbours, all viable markets for its agricultural products, making  it a unique geographical opportunity to be utilized for the country’s advantage.

President Lungu envisions a situation where his administration, will during nteh tenure, create linkagers between various sectors and building upon each of them and maximize on the comparative advantages noting that if water and sanitation were improved, it will help reduce the disease burden arising from water borne diseases and spare the resources to be channeled in other needy areas.

President Lungu seeks to steer the country to the envisioned target of 2030 in which Zambia seeks to be a prosperous middle income state as well as attaining the United Nations and the African Union’s sustainable goals as envisioned by 2063.

Zambia hopes during the five year tenure to double up its efforts and streamline the financial sector and achieve a stable macroeconomic stability through various austerity measures and build greater investor confidence through consistent and predictable economic policies and enable the public and the private sector plan effectively in the medium and long term.

President Lungu, envisions through joint collaboration with the ministry of finance and the Central Bank to in the next five years to tackle and achieve a broader macroeconomic target through the attainment of a double digit Gross Domestic Product growth and the attainment of a single digit inflation rate, thereby increasing and broadening domestic revenue collection to better the economy and its people’s lives.

“Further Government will continue to ensure that the public debt remains sustainable in order to increase the fiscal space and create room for development financing,” President Lungu added.

Government plans to make agriculture and fisheries And livestock as treh main focus for economic growth through which other sectors will be integrated to maximize economic growth under the seventh national development plan, which will be the bedrock for economic growth and act as a measure of its planned economic diversification agenda.

58 Opposition UPND lawmakers shun Zambia Parliament’s official opening ……..As President Edgar Lungu outlines vision for the country in the next 10 years

Speaker, Matibini announced the boycott of the sitting by UPND MPs.pix: ZDM
Sept. 30 (Zambia Informer)------The opening of the first session of the 12th National Assembly may have been hallmarked by President Edgar Lungu’s  vision  to re-create Zambia, but the main opposition,  United Party for National Development (UPND),  all  the 58 lawmakers opted to stay out of the August House for unexplained reasons.

The ceremonial opening of the Parliamentary sitting, which should have embraced the more than 155 members of house saw all the 58 lawmakers shunning the meeting at which President Lungu outlined key developmental visions to see Zambia self sustaining, re-invigorated and a country of hope for a better nation by the year 2063 as espoused by the United Nations.

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini, who noticed the absence of the opposition lawmakers announced to the house that the other 58 MPs, were not in the house.
Soon after,  Richard Musukwa, the Parliamentary chief whip signaled the commencement of the sitting. Musukwa is assisted by his Roan counterpart,  Steven Chungu.
After it became visible that the UPND MPs would not attend the session, some ruling party-PF MPs were forced to move from their traditional right to occupy the seats on the left which were to be held by UPND lawmakers before President Lungu started addressing the house in which he gave a “vision” of what he envisions to see Zambia during and after his tenure of office with great verve with a call to Zambians to rededicate themselves to national development inspite of all challenges lying ahead including energy deficiency.
President Lungu, 59 had arrived at 10:25 Hours  and was greeted with a 21-gun salute by the defence forces before he majestically moved into the house to give an overview of the Government’s plan to see Zambia’s future beyond 2021.
Accordingly, only the majority Patriotic Front lawmakers, one from the Forum for Democracy and Development and over 12 from the independent seats, they won in the 11 August election were present to listen to President Lungu’s visionary statement, described by many players, donors alike as “very convincing if supported”
According to statistics, the Zambian  August House now has 167 members, with 29 female MPs and 138 males. The ruling PF dominates the house with 88 MPs with 14 Independents and one lawmaker from  FDD.

News Just In………. President Edgar Lungu opens the first session of the 12th National Assembly.

Flash Back: President Lungu opening Parliament: Pix Zambia Eye.com
Key Highlights: 

·         *  Opposition United Party for National Development  (UPND) boycotts parliament opening in Lusaka Friday, Sept. 30 but President Lungu goes ahead and opens the sittings despite their absence in the August House.

·         * Government envisions developing and nurturing the seventh National Development Programme in the next five years as a yardstick to national development.

·         * Seeks to attain a middle income state by 2030 and a prosperous nation by 2063 as espoused by the United Nations for national growth.

·         * Government to undertake austerity measures to stabilize the macro economic environment and build greater investment climate in a predictable manner and enable both the public and private sector to realize real returns from  the country’s resources, plans to overcome the debt burden and create fiscal space for development financing
            *  Industrialisation and agricultural development, key among some of the key measures to be undertaken as Zambia aspires to grow its economy.

·         * Zambia seeks to see in the next five to 10 years see various state owned companies list on the Lusaka Stock Exchange to broaden citizens empowerment

·       *   Mining diversification underway in the next five years and reduce dependence on copper production as country’s mainstay for economic growth

·         * Zambia to tackle the energy crisis and promote energy mix as hydro power becomes unreliable in the wake of climatic changes.

·         * Infrastructure development remains one of the key tenets of economic growth i.e. roads, bridges, railway, airports among other facilities
·         Zambia to accelerate the fight against corruption and ensure the resources realized are channeled to meet people’s expectations-all players called upon to take an active role in the fight against the scourge.

·         * Zambia to undertake realignment of Government ministries,  plans underway to create ministry of Presidential affairs, water and sanitation and environmental concerns, national guidance and religious affairs and housing and infrastructure development.

    Stories coming soon

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Look Out: Zambia’s Parley Opens its door.

The 12th session of the fifth national assembly opens its doors tomorrow, Sept. 30 in which President Edgar Lungu will or is expected to give a direction on the future of the country’s economy in the next five years.

Look out for exciting news as Zambia looks forward to economic growth prospects, what with the IMF’s US$1.5 billion aid package, expected to accelerate economic growth.


Opinion: Credit Reference Bureau In Zambia--Is it serving the intended purpose?

The Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), the arbiter  between financial  lenders and their clients,  remains a cardinal 'watchdog' in any fledgling economy globally,  Zambia included  in as far as  investor confidence is concerned.

Against recent  media reports emanating that the CRB is seemingly losing its meaning in as far as arbitrating over the matters pertaining to Banks and Customer-relationship regarding loans secured and defaulted against,  makes its rather buffling to say the least.

This, however,  fuels   concerns on the future and continued  existence  of the lending institutions or  their survival in  this challenging  global financial predicament.   According to recent media reports,  a  defaulter is awarded damages  by a court  of  law for being reported to the CRB, which undoubtedly,  oversees  the  creditworthiness of a  customer.

The case in point is that of the recent story concerning Stanbic Bank Zambia,  a member of the Standard  Bank  Group, which is making headlines in several international  and local media. According to reports, Stanbic Zambia was dragged to court for reporting Savenda management services to the CRB despite Savenda having defaulted on their loan repayments.

Unfortunately, the decision of the court’s ruling in favor   of  Savenda may raise a lot of apprehension on existing and potential investors seeking to come to Zambia to do business in an economy deemed ideal for business development.

With the rate of defaulting among customers, not only in Zambia, but globally,  where does this leave  the country’s economic growth prospects,  given that several investors are keenly looking at Zambia as the favored destination?

To the financial institutions, what threat does this precedence set mean to the sector?  Food for thought.

Presidential appointments, my preserve, says Lungu.................... ‘Ministerial positions are not about appeasements’

Wina (left) and President Lungu-the two remain inseperable despite all odds
Sep. 29 (Zambia Informer) -----The appointment of ministers is a preserve of the Presidency and not about appeasing party cohorts, President Edgar Lungu says.

Meanwhile, the President has warned, he will not be cowed by some disgruntled party loyalists  into partying company with his vice President, Inonge  Wina because of unfounded beliefs.

He argues some frustrated members of the party claims Vice President Wina does not deserve the position after western province, her homestead and where she hails, recorded or contributed meager results to the success of the ruling party in the 11 August poll.

He was speaking when he swore in nine cabinet ministers, a senior Army officer, diplomat and the deputy secretary to the cabinet at State House, Thursday, Sept. 29.

A visibly disappointed Lungu stated that the appointment of ministers is his preserve and prerogative and that it would be wrong for anyone to assume or  think the appointments of some people who have taken up positions in his Government, are or were being done at the expense of loyalists who campaigned, supported and sacrificed for the ruling Patriotic Front (PF’s)  to ensure victory in the 11 August poll.

The appointments, President Lungu added, were not being made ‘to appease anyone, but merely looking for the best material and people capable delivering to the expectations of the people’ as Government had during the campaign trail promised a better Zambia if PF was re-elected after the poll.

All appointments are being done in consultations with various relevant stakeholders to ensure suitability of deserving people to run the affairs of the country on behalf of the expectant majority.

President Lungu regretted the misguided concerns doing the round in the party that “he was ignoring those who had served long in the party and were faithful”, but that the appointments were not about appeasements and rewarding followers but electing the best to deliver”.

“Ministerial positions are not about appeasing. Appointment of Ministers is a preserve and prerogative of the President. It’s not about appeasing each other. It’s about getting the best to deliver,”  President Lungu said while calling for patience among the rank and file.

“For those of you who supported me, your time will come,” The President added.

On some of the eyebrows being raised over Vice President Wina, over her position, yet Western province’s contributions to the party’s victory was seen as insignificant, and done with a view to frustrate her and force her into resigning, President Lungu stated he would not accept her resignations if considered because of unfounded concerns.

 The President, however assured his deputy of unflinching support for her role and pledged to rally behind Her to ensure she remain in office because of unwavering  contributions to the ruling party.

It is the Presidency’s desire to encourage more women to take up leadership roles in the governance of the country  while  regretting  the  low number of women vying for political office, a development which has affected both the ruling PF and the opposition.

And President Lungu has sworn in nine ministers, a diplomat a senior army officer and a senior civil servant, with a call for total loyalty and support from the Ministers for effective service delivery.

The Presidency expects the Ministers to be at their best behavior, hard working and focused on the implementation of Government policies and delivering without fail, as it is the expectation of the majority Zambians. He warned of stern action  or possible dismissal of disloyal and under-performing Ministers.

President Lungu swore in  Given Lubinda, the former Agriculture minister  to  run the Justice ministry,  Michael Katambo  is the new minister of livestock. He  has retained Chishimba Kambwili, one of the party founders as his minister of information and broadcasting. Christopher Yaluma, the former minister at mines and minerals developments being retained.

David Mabumba,  the who earlier served at ministry of education has taken up the role of  energy minister,  Charles Banda,  former High Commissioner to Malawi is the new minister for tourism and arts, taking over from Jean Kapata, now at Lands.

Emerine  Kabanshi,  the Lunga constituency Lawmaker has retained her position as minister of community development and social welfare, Ronald Chitotela,  will  be in charge of works and supply while Kankoyo lawmaker and business consultant, Brian Mushimba is the new minister of communications and transport, taking over from Kapembwa Simbao.

The appointment of ministers brings the number of those taken up to serve in the President Lungu’s administration to 25.

Other appointments included Christopher Mvunga as deputy secretary to the cabinet-finance and economic development. Maj. General Jackson Miti is the new Deputy Army Commander,  while  the new Tanzanian High Commissioner-Designate is Benson Chali.