LUSAKA – Republican President Hakainde Hichilema has directed newly appointed Provincial Ministers to immediately begin opening rural areas to investment for economic growth and development.
The move is meant to promote industrialisation and value addition for job creation that will attract young people currently unemployed in towns and cities.
Addressing a media briefing in Lusaka, UPND spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said provincial ministers have been given a clear mandate by President Hichilema as torch bearers and vision carriers for the government’s decentralisation policy into provinces.
Mr Mweetwa who is also Southern Province Minister said it is the vision of the Head of State to ensure that young people trek back to provinces and Districts in search of economic opportunities hence the need to open up those areas.
“I’m here to report that just like my fellow Provincial Ministers, we have been given a mandate to be torch bearers of this new vision of taking power away from Lusaka to the various provinces, districts and constituencies.
“That is the mission he has given to us and he made it very clear that his administration wants to take money and power from Lusaka to the various provinces, districts and constituencies in order to allow for local generated solutions to local challenges by allowing local people to be able to decide their developmental priorities.
“This should be aided by a budget reasonably allocated to begin to deal with challenges identified therein. He has sent us to begin to attract young people away from the cities where they are living without jobs,” he said.
He said it is the agenda of the government to begin to genuinely devolve power from the centre to the people and also to be able to materialise decentralisation which the country has been yearning for over a long period.
The party spokesperson said the President is fully cognisant of the meaning of the change for 2021 and that the majority of that vote came from young people who are looking for jobs but cannot be created in Lusaka where land has been taken and depleted.
“It is the vision of the President to go and begin to utilise land that is lying idle to set up industries and value addition yards to attract young people. We find it sad that when young people that have graduated from institutions of higher learning are posted to areas such as Kaputa, Sioma or Sinazongwe as a teacher or nurse.
“It’s a gloomy day for them because these places have been left neglected because everyone wants to come to Lusaka. We look forward as Provincial Ministers to turn our Provincial headquarters into cities and we are sure the President will keep his word,” he added.
Mr Mweetwa has since advised Zambians to continue to keep a checklist to check on whether the President and the UPND led government were sticking to their campaign promises,some of which were already coming to fruition.