PRESIDENT LUNGU LAUNCHES THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (2017 – 2021)

TODAY IS YET ANOTHER IMPORTANT DAY IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY AS WE GATHER TO LAUNCH THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN, 2017-2021. THIS EPIC OCCASION SIGNIFIES OUR COMMITMENT TO PLANNED DEVELOPMENT SINCE THE RE-INTRODUCTION OF DEVELOPMENT PLANNING IN 2002.

THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN IS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE TOWARDS THE ATTAINMENT OF VISION 2030.  THE VISION 2030 OUTLINES OUR CHERISHED LONG TERM ASPIRATION: “TO BECOME A PROSPEROUS MIDDLE-INCOME NATION BY 2030”.

WE ENVISION A PROSPEROUS ZAMBIA WHERE ALL YOUNG PEOPLE WILL HAVE ACCESS TO EDUCATION AND HEALTH FACILITIES; A PROSPEROUS ZAMBIA WHICH OFFERS EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO ALL; AND A PROSPEROUS ZAMBIA WHERE INNOVATION WILL FORM THE BACKBONE OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY.

TO GUARANTEE ATTAINMENT OF THE VISION 2030, GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO IMPLEMENT COMPREHENSIVE FIVE-YEAR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

DURING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PREVIOUS NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS, THE COUNTRY SUSTAINED POSITIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH.  GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP) GROWTH RATES AVERAGED 6.5 PERCENT WHILE INFLATION WAS MAINTAINED WITHIN SINGLE DIGITS.

WE HAVE ROLLED OUT MASSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE LENGTH AND BREADTH OF OUR COUNTRY.

ROADS AND BRIDGES, HOSPITALS, SCHOOLS, WATER RETICULATION SYSTEMS AND OTHER SUPPORT INFRASTRUCTURE WERE CONSTRUCTED AND REHABILITATED THEREBY CREATING AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

OVERALL POVERTY LEVELS HAVE DECLINED FROM 62.8 PERCENT IN 2006 TO 54.4 PERCENT IN 2015.  THESE ACHIEVEMENTS HAVE BEEN AS A RESULT OF PLANNED INTERVENTIONS BY GOVERNMENT AND COOPERATING PARTNERS.

BUT DESPITE THESE ACHIEVEMENTS, REVIEWS OF THE PREVIOUS NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS INDICATE THAT A LOT MORE STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE.

ALTHOUGH OVERALL POVERTY LEVELS DECLINED, I AM CONCERNED THAT RURAL POVERTY REMAINS HIGH AT 76.6 PERCENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS AT 7.4 PERCENT.

HOWEVER, ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR STANDARDS THIS REMAINS A PROBLEM. OUR MAIN CONCERN IS THAT THE MAJORITY OF OUR PEOPLE ARE IN THE INFORMAL SECTOR WHICH ACCOUNTS FOR 89.3 PERCENT OF THE EMPLOYED.

THE INFORMAL SECTOR EMPLOYMENT, WHERE THE YOUTH ARE THE MAJORITY, IS CHARACTERISED BY LOW LEVELS OF PRODUCTIVITY AND LACK OF SOCIAL SECURITY.  IN ADDITION, THE INFORMAL SECTOR WORKERS HAVE INSUFFICIENT DISPOSABLE INCOMES TO ENABLE THEM AFFORD BASIC NECESSITIES SUCH AS SHELTER, FOOD AND EDUCATION.  THIS SITUATION, THEREFORE, LEAVES THEM TRAPPED IN A VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY.

I AM CONCERNED THAT THE GAP BETWEEN THE POOR AND THE RICH REMAINS WIDE. WE MUST ALL WORK TOGETHER TO REDUCE THIS UNACCEPTABLE INCOME DISPARITY.

ACCORDING TO THE 2015 LIVING CONDITIONS AND MONITORING SURVEY, THE POOREST 50 PERCENT OF HOUSEHOLDS ACCOUNTED FOR ONLY 7.3 PERCENT WHILE THE RICHEST 10 PERCENT ACCOUNTED FOR 56 PERCENT OF HOUSEHOLD INCOME.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING THESE CHALLENGES AS WE CONTINUE BUILDING ON THE PROGRESS MADE SO FAR TOWARDS THE ATTAINMENT OF THE VISION 2030.

NOTWITHSTANDING THE CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED, WE ARE DETERMINED, LIKE OUR NOBLE EAGLE, TO BUILD A RESILIENT AND DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY.  WE WANT AN ECONOMY WHERE VALUE-ADDITION AND KNOWLEDGE-BASED ACTIVITIES ARE DEEPLY ENTRENCHED IN LINE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF A SMART ZAMBIA.

THE OVERARCHING STRATEGIC FOCUS OF THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN IS TO ACCELERATE DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS TOWARDS THE VISION 2030.

THIS STRATEGIC FOCUS UNDERSCORES GOVERNMENT’S DETERMINATION TO DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY AND CREATE MORE JOBS TO REDUCE POVERTY AND INEQUALITIES.

THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN WILL ALSO RESULT IN  OTHER KEY DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES SUCH AS ENHANCED HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND CREATION OF A CONDUCIVE GOVERNANCE ENVIRONMENT.  THE PLAN, THEREFORE, SEEKS TO BRING ABOUT INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT, WITHOUT LEAVING ANYONE BEHIND, IN LINE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS OF THE UNITED NATIONS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

TO SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVE THESE CHALLENGING BUT DESIRABLE DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES, THERE IS NEED FOR STRENGTHENED SYNERGIES AMONG ALL STAKEHOLDERS.  FOR THIS REASON, THE PLAN HAS ADOPTED AN INTEGRATED MULTI-SECTORAL APPROACH THROUGH PROMOTION OF INTER AND INTRA SECTORAL SYNERGIES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAMMES.

FURTHER, GOVERNMENT HAS DEVELOPED A NATIONAL PERFORMANCE FRAMEWORK WHICH WILL ASSIST IMPLEMENTING INSTITUTIONS TO LOGICALLY LINK DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES IN A MANNER THAT WILL LEAD TO THE REALISATION OF THE VISION 2030.

THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN REQUIRES STRONGER LINKAGES BETWEEN THE PLAN AND THE BUDGET.

IT IS, THEREFORE, IMPORTANT THAT NATIONAL BUDGETS ARE ALIGNED TO THE PROGRAMMES CONTAINED IN THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS.

WE ARE ACCELERATING IMPLEMENTATION OF KEY CROSS CUTTING REFORMS WHICH INCLUDE: LAND; DECENTRALISATION; PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT; PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT; E-GOVERNMENT AND INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY REFORMS.

IN LINE WITH THIS, ALL GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES AND INSTITUTIONS ARE EXPECTED TO ALIGN THEIR STRATEGIC PLANS TO THE SMART ZAMBIA AGENDA AND THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN.

TO ENHANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMMES, ALL QUARTERLY REPORTS FOR MINISTRIES, PROVINCES AND SPENDING AGENCIES ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN LINE WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OUTCOMES OF THE PLAN.

ACCORDINGLY, PERFORMANCE CONTRACTS FOR PERMANENT SECRETARIES WILL CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR GOVERNMENT AS REFLECTED IN THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

CLUSTER SECTOR MINISTRIES, AS WELL AS RESPECTIVE PROVINCES AND DISTRICTS ARE CARDINAL TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN.  COHERENCE BETWEEN IMPLEMENTING ENTITIES INCLUDING NON-STATE ACTORS IS CRITICAL.  TO THIS EFFECT, GOVERNMENT WILL DEVISE STRONGER COORDINATION MECHANISMS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE PROJECTED RESOURCE ENVELOPE FOR THE PLAN PERIOD 2017–2021 IS ESTIMATED AT K342.3 BILLION, AVERAGING K68.5 BILLION ANNUALLY.

FINANCING OVER THE PLAN PERIOD WILL BE PREMISED ON THE PRINCIPLE OF RESTORING FISCAL FITNESS AS GUIDED BY THE PILLARS OF THE 2016 ECONOMIC STABILISATION AND GROWTH PROGRAMME (ESGP), DUBBED “ZAMBIA PLUS”.

OUR COOPERATING PARTNERS WILL BE EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE AT LEAST K12.6 BILLION.  THIS WILL HELP EASE PRESSURE ON THE NATIONAL TREASURY.  THE FISCAL DEFICIT IS, THEREFORE, EXPECTED TO CLOSE AT 1.4 PERCENT OF GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT BY 2021.

 LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

GIVEN OUR NATURAL RESOURCE ENDOWMENT AND A YOUTHFUL POPULATION, WE HAVE NO OPTION BUT TO SUCCEED IN IMPLEMENTING THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN.  OUR ATTITUDES AND COLLECTIVE MINDSETS, PARTICULARLY TOWARDS WORK AND PARTICIPATION IN NATIONAL AFFAIRS, REQUIRE URGENT TRANSFORMATION.

I, THEREFORE, URGE ALL ZAMBIANS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, YOUNG AND OLD, RURAL AND URBAN, FROM SHANGOMBO TO KAPUTA AND FROM CHIPATA TO MONGU TO BE FULLY COMMITTED TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OUR PLAN.

AS WE DO SO, LET US ALSO CONTINUE TO UPHOLD THE NATIONAL VALUES AND PRINCIPLES ENSHRINED IN OUR CONSTITUTION AS THESE HAVE A SIGNIFICANT BEARING ON THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN.

EQUALLY, I APPEAL TO OUR COOPERATING PARTNERS, CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS, AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO FULLY SUPPORT GOVERNMENT IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN.

LET US ALL WORK HARD AND SHOW COMMITMENT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR COUNTRY. LET US ALL LEARN FROM AND BE INSPIRED BY THE AMAZING AND SUCCESSFUL DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCES OF COUNTRIES SUCH AS SOUTH KOREA, SINGAPORE AND MALAYSIA.  INDEED, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

GIVEN OUR COLLECTIVE RESOLVETO MOVE THIS COUNTRY TO GREATER HEIGHTS, I AM CONVINCED THAT TOGETHER, WE WILL ACHIEVE THE OUTCOMES OUTLINED IN THE PLAN.

TOGETHER, WE CAN DO IT.  TOGETHER, WE WILL PROSPER.  LET US ALL STRIVE TO GIVE OUR CHILDREN, OUR GRANDCHILDREN AND OUR GREAT GRANDCHILDREN THE QUALITY OF LIFE THEY DESERVE.  WITH THE HELP OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD, THE DESTINY OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY IS IN OUR HANDS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I NOW DECLARE THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2017-2021, WHOSE THEME IS “ACCELERATING DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS TOWARDS VISION 2030 WITHOUT LEAVING ANYONE BEHIND”, OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED.

 I THANK YOU ALL AND MAY GOD BLESS ZAMBIA.

 

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