With the National Budget Speech slated for October, 2021, this is where we are going to get policy direction from the President through the Minister of Finance to give clear National Policies through Budgetary provisions that indicate clear commitment from the government of the day.
Policy Direction from the President would replace the manifesto pronouncements that characterised the election campaign. During the campaign period, the President-Elect and as President has continued pledged to improve the economy of country as well as offering free education from primary school to tertiary education. Now that the reality has dawned before us and that he will be given his maiden speech as the President of the Republic of Zambia to the National Assembly and the next step is for his Minister of Finance to present the National Budget later this month.
Here are some points I would love to hear pronounced as new government policies for the next five years.
1. Establish Multi-Facility Economic Zones in the 8 provinces of Zambia. The Economic Zones should target Zambian Small and Medium sized Enterprises. Giving them a tax free incentive for two years so that they can be fully established and get to compete with Entrepreneurs from other Countries. The development of the informal sector is going to play a critical role to the recovery and the improvement of the economy.
2. Establish a Diaspora Development Fund where Zambians in the Diaspora contribute a designated amount of money to the Zambian Treasury which would be used to develop the socio-economic sector as we move away from being aid dependent. This is going to help reduce the economic stress that has been imposed on the country due to the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic
3. Pronounce the long term ambition of moving the Capital city away from Lusaka to a location that would be identified and well planned for it’s development. The Budgetary provisions are going to show the long-term commitment of the New Dawn Administration.
4. Halt the proposed construction of a New State House. This is not a priority at the moment because the current one is not a dilapidated state and is not insecure. Channel that money to other areas of concern which would Greatly contributed to the economic development of the country. The Minister of Finance and the government should urge the president to expeditiously look into this matter
5. Actualize the dream of Zambian mining entrepreneurs by offering them the licences to begin mining activities as soon as possible. The more Zambians are involved in major economic activities the better for the recovery of the Zambian economy. The role of the Private Sector is going to key in ensuring that Economic Transformation is attained. The amount of time taken to register a company in Zambia should seriously be reduced so that investors can begin to have confidence in the seriousness of the country to attain economic prosperity.
6. Direct all companies that are currently operating in Zambia to have a farm and start farming maize which would be processed and all the products and by-products of maize put on the market and some exported. This is going to help the country become food secure. Food security is key to economic transformation. This will help to add value to the many Agricultural produce from across the country that can later be exported to earn the country Foreign Exchange.
Recently the President indicated that his administration is headed to introducing the 24-hour economy in Zambia. With that said the expectancy in the National Budget is that Minister of Finance will clearly indicate to the Nation how the 24-hour economy will be rolled out. With the negative consequences of the Covid-19 clearly visible on the economy with the economic growth of the country last year nosediving into Negatives, it is expected a pronouncement on the road to economic recovery should start with the implementation of the 24-hour economy which will mean that production in the country will be going on for 24 hours and that the wheels of the economy will be moving in a 24 hour cycle for all the days of the year. This is likely to create more jobs for the many unemployed once fully implemented.
With the promise of a New Dawn, we only hope the National Budget Speech is going to set the tone and give the confidence that is going to set the country on the path of Economic Transformation.