This weekend we launched our 10 Point Plan for Zambia in Kitwe.
The PF promised to create 200,000 jobs every year but the Central Statistics Office has confirmed only 5, 000 formal jobs were created between 2012 and 2014. President Lungu then promised to create 500,000 jobs on 12th August last year, but all we have heard of since is job losses in sectors ranging from mining to retail.
Lack of planning and leadership have left our economy struggling. This means businesses are closing or laying-off workers and investors are staying away from projects that would have created jobs. Meanwhile, those who have business ideas at the ready find that the costs of operation are too high and the price of capital way beyond their means.
Let us explain how we will deliver change. Firstly, we will create a supportive environment for local business. By helping Zambian companies to lower their costs we will help them thrive and create jobs. This will be achieved through various measures, including bringing an end to load shedding and the additional burden of buying fuel to run generators, as well as cutting costs by reducing the number of permits and permissions required to operate.
Secondly, we will provide additional support to businesses focused on value-addition industries so we make more goods locally. This is very important because these areas will not only create jobs but also help us bring prices down. While malls are being built we urgently need to be developing our industry so that we are making the things to sell there. What use are these places to us if no one can afford the goods on offer because they have to be imported and our people don’t have jobs?
Thirdly, Government has to start looking at its own situation. The furniture in our ministers offices, where is it made? China right. We have youths making furniture in the markets like Nakadoli and Mandevu. Let us buy from them. We have women who can sow uniforms for schools. Let us contract them. When we say we will empower our youths and women this is what we mean.
Fourth, we will support businesses to bring their products up to international standards so they can take advantage of our position as a hub bordering many countries. This will mean empowering Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and other institutions to ensure that our products are of international standards. This means investing in training programmes and reforming education so that practical and employable skills are taught to our youths.
Fifth, we will open up opportunities in underdeveloped sectors such as arts and tourism. The agriculture sector is still under developed as far as value-addition is concerned. The. We will focus our energy in opening up these industries by providing a stable and attractive investment environment which is Zambian led.
These are just some of the ways we will deliver Point One of our 10 Point Plan and create jobs for our people.