Yohane Mbeeya Moono
On 9th September, 2022, President Hakainde Hichilema during the opening of the Second Session of the Thirteenth National Assembly addressed the house under the theme
“WORKING TOGETHER TOWARDS SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION: STIMULATING ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR IMPROVED LIVELIHOODS.”
The address gave intent of the policies that Government is set to undertake in the year 2023. Key points of note in the Presidential Speech
1. Government has put in place fundamentals that have seen the reduction in inflation from 25.8% in August 2021 to 9.8% in August, 2022
2. The country has improved the national foreign exchange reserves from 1.9 months of import cover to 3.7 months of import cover. In the same vein the country’s currency has performed better against major convertible currencies, making it one of the best performing currencies in the World.
3. The country launched the Eighth National Development Plan whose focus is to restore macroeconomic stability by raising Real GDP Growth. The Eighth National Development Plan is anchored on the theme “Social Economic Transformation for Improved Livelihoods.” Talking of Gross Domestic Product value Growth the country has targeted 4% growth in the Medium-term.
4. The government has prioritized Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing and Tourism as the key drivers to achieving Economic Transformation. The government has further identified the key Enablers of Economic Transformation and these being Energy, Transport, Information and Communication Technology as well as Research and Development.
5. The government has increased the Constituency Development Fund from K1.6 million to K25.7 million per Constituency. This is likely to be a serious Socio-Economic game changer in many Constituencies but it’s impact has not yet been felt due to the rigidity surrounding the guidelines governing the new Constituency Development Fund allocation.
6. The government has prioritized Food and Nutrition security through diversified food production initiatives and ensuring the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal on ensuring Zero Hunger. Currently, the country has 1.2 million tonnes of surplus Maize. This should be stepping stone for great economic transformation as the country is food secure.
7. The government plans to complete the construction of 16 Mini Hospitals out of the targeted 115 as well as 83 out of the targeted 650 Health posts. Health care remains a critical cog to the Socio-Economic Transformation of the country as a Healthy Nation is a Wealthy Nation. The government has also procured a year’s supply of essential medicines and medical supplies and has emphasized on the promotion of Local Manufacturing of Pharmaceutical Products and other Medical Supplies.
8. The government plans to expand classroom space through the construction of 120 secondary schools, in addition to the 115 secondary schools whose construction started in previous years and are at various stages of completion. This is in response to the free education policy introduced at the start of 2022. The government is trying to ensure that no school going child sits on the floor by the end of 2023 through the ambitious exercise under the Constituency Development Fund to locally source desks for schools countrywide. The government is implementing various Youth Skills Development programmes and in the year 2022 alone, over 12, 000 youths have been trained in various skills such as Metal Fabrication, Carpentry and Joinery, Mining, Bricklaying and General Agriculture. Education being a lifelong process is critical to the country attainment the Socio-Economic Transformation it desires.
Time has come for Zambia and Zambians to work together towards achieving Economic Emancipation and Transform Zambia into an Economic giant every citizen can be proud of. 2023 is the year Socio-Economic Transformation begins.