Africa-Press – Zambia. President Edgar Lungu has called on Zambians to reflect on the exceptional challenges experienced in 2020 as well as take advantage of the opportunity to celebrate the successes scored in the country.
President Lungu remembered 2020 as the year when world economies faced grave encounters, Zambia inclusive due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and the impact of climate change, among other disasters.
Among notable challenges, the Head of state listed high inflation, exchange rate instability and high interest rates, low levels of electricity generation and the negative impact on key sectors such as education and health in Zambia.
He added increased food prices, low levels of support for programmes under the social cash transfer, reiterating that most of the challenges were worsened by the impact of the virus and climate change.
In his New Year message to the nation, in a live televised address on ZNBC Television, the Head of State reminded that even during the hard times, his government remained resolute to ensuring that Zambians are well served through implementation of interventions aimed at managing COVID-19.
The President indicated that government does not seat back to watch the harsh environment destroy the country’s development.
“We are grateful to the Almighty God who has enabled us to reach this far as we end the year 2020 and enter the New Year 2021. This is the moment we look back and reflect the unique challenges we faced together as a nation, it is an opportunity to celebrate our successes with renewed hope for the future,” President Lungu stated.
The Head of State indicated that government has rolled specific measures among which includes an integrated health response in order to manage the adverse effects of the pandemic, the emergency social cash transfer as well as the K10 billion COVD-19 stimulus package among other empowerment initiatives.
He also hailed cooperating partners for supporting government in a multi-sectorial approach to combat the further spread of the Coronavirus, which is evidenced through the country being ranked the fourth safest country to travel to during the virus by a world travel site.
He implored citizens not to take the peace and stability that the country continues to enjoy for granted, saying that the country is a beacon of peace in Africa.
President Lungu assured the nation that a number of COVID-19 vaccines will be available in 2021 which is an advantage for all humanity, thus boosting economic growth.
The Head of State listed various strides that government has scored such as infrastructure development which has increased health facilities, schools, roads, communication towers and increased electricity generation, thereby improved the living standards of many Zambians.
He said as the country goes to the polls during the 2021 general elections, he guaranteed that democracy will be exercised through free and fair election.
“Let me however sound a word of caution, intimidation and violence have no place in our democracy, they are an affiant to our democracy and Christian values that teach us to love our neighbors as ourselves,” the President commented.
The Head of State stressed the need to find other ways of enhancing revenue in the country by finding better ways of utilizing the mining sector.
He indicated that governments’ focus being on gold mining, the country has witness an impetus economic growth.
President Lungu called for urgent efforts to solve the issues surrounding Mopani and Konkola Copper mines so that the mining industry could move forward.
The Head of State reiterated that achieving economic recovery in 2021 depends on the actions taken as a country through the contributions of various partners, announcing that government will do its part.
He emphasised that it is through collective efforts that will accelerate the recovery of Zambia’s economy.
President Lungu acknowledged that with the constant increase in the rainfall pattern comes water bone diseases, hence implored the citizens to maintain cleanliness at all times in order to avoid diseases such cholera and dysentery.
He warned that those who will not maintain cleanliness should be booked by the local authorities in an effort to enhance the culture of sanitation in the surroundings.
“The progress we have made thus far be the solid foundation for even greater achievements in 2021 and beyond. As we enter 2021, it is important that we embrace hope for our future in our hearts, clarity of purpose in our minds and determination in our actions, there is so much hope,” the Head of State echoed in his message to Zambians.