PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema this morning officially opened the first Session of the 13th National Assembly with a revelation that his administration will develop a robust National Development Action Plan for the period 2022 to 2026.
Mr Hichilema said the Eighth National Development Plan will reflect the UPND administration’s economic transformation agenda to deliver on the national vision and the aspirations of the Zambia people.
The Head of State delivered his speech under the theme, ‘creating a united, prosperous and equitable Zambia: restoring economic growth and safe-guarding livelihoods’.
Mr Hichilema said the focus of the transformation agenda will be on attaining outcomes beyond economic growth to include greater inclusion and poverty reduction.
His speech focused on four broad policy direction for the next five years which included Economic Transformation and Job Creation; Human and Social Development; Environmental sustainability; and Good Governance Environment.
The President said his government will create an environment in which every citizen will have the opportunity to participate and benefit from economic activities.
Mr Hichilema said the first term in office for the UPND administration will embark on a national development agenda to ensure accelerated economic recovery.
“Our vision is to have a united and prosperous Zambia that provides equal opportunities for all,” said Mr Hichilema.
The Head of State said his Government was determined to meet the basic needs of every Zambian and create a conducive environment for Zambia to become a prosperous middle income country.
“We are determined to usher in an era where politics are used to strengthen rather than weaken our unity,” he said. “We are determined to make our national motto of ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ a reality and not just a mere slogan.”
He noted that the levels of poverty in the country were unacceptably high and called for necessary measures aimed at ending the vicious cycle of scourge to bring prosperity to all.
He said the proposed Ministry of Small and Medium sized Enterprise Development is poised to foster the development as well as support the growth of small and medium sized enterprises.
He noted that the agricultural sector is critical in driving growth, creating employment opportunities and contributing to the country’s prosperity.
“The agricultural sector is, however, characterized by low productivity levels, insufficient agricultural support infrastructure, inadequate delivery of extension services and poor land husbandry practices,” he said.
“To this end, government will implement a comprehensive agricultural transformation programme with the aim of making the sector a viable commercial undertaking.”
He noted that the mining sector faced a number of challenges such as low levels of local participation and ownership, lack of transparency and accountability as well as inconsistent fiscal policy.
“Our administration is determined to ensure increased local participation and ownership in the sector, more jobs being created, as well as increased investments in the mining sector,” he said.
He said the UPND administration will progressively increase private sector participation in the procurement and supply of petroleum products.
He said the government will wage war on corruption and not spare any expense to ensure that perpetrators are made to account for their impropriety.
“There will be no sacred cows in the fight. We will increase the benefits of being honest and the cost of being corrupt,” he said.
“To enhance transparency and accountability in our national affairs, we will review the policy and legal Framework for oversight institutions to enable them to effectively fight corruption and economic crimes.”