President Edgar Lungu has realigned several ministries and directed that an autonomous body to promote PPPs be created in order to foster a dynamic and strategically focused diversification programme and stimulate rapid growth of the economy which has recently been hit by reduced copper earnings.
The President in his address to Parliament this morning said the economy has been registering a favourable gross domestic product growth rate over the past decade, averaging around 6%. However, there was need for the economy to register at least 10% GDP growth rate that can have an effective impact on reducing poverty that was currently around 60%.
“Our aim is to move towards a smart economy that is characterised by access to capital, markets, talent, infrastructure and, reliable and predictable regulations. In addition, we need to promote a functional culture and social networks. Furthermore, we need to promote ethical behaviour in public and private sectors anchored on zero tolerance to corruption,” he said.
He cited examples of countries such Japan, Singapore and South Korea that had transformed into developed countries within a generation as a result of their strong will and determination, adding that Zambia could in the same vain attain this goal as long the nation remained focused and determined.
To promote and implement this transformational agenda the President has moved the national planning function from the Ministry of Finance to form the new Ministry of Development Planning and has split the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education into the Ministry of General Education and the Ministry of Higher Education.
The function of mother and child health has been moved to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development will remain as such; while the Ministry of Gender and Child Development shall be designated as the Ministry of Gender with the function of child development moving to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which now becomes the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development;
President Lungu has also split the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development into the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development and the Ministry of Energy and Water Development.
The Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication has been also be divided into the Ministry of Works and Supply and the Ministry of Transport and Communication while the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock will now be split into two: the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.
The cooperatives shall now fall under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry at a directorate level but the name for the ministry will remain the same.
In order to compliment Government efforts in the delivery of public infrastructure the President has called on the private sector to work with Government to find alternative ways of financing development.
“It is for this reason that a strong partnership is a necessity between government and the private sector as we seek to tap private sector resources for national development. It is in this regard that I direct that an autonomous body be created to professionally deal with Public Private Partnership matters. To this end, State House, in liaison with Cabinet Office and relevant stakeholders, must spearhead the formation of this body which will eventually be transferred to Cabinet Office,” President Lungu stated.
The President is concerned that despite having well-meaning policies that espoused Public Private Partnerships in the statute books for many years yet no tangible project had been implemented.
“Mr. Speaker, it has been six long years since this august house passed the PPP Act Number 14 of 2009. It is for this reason that I do not expect Government-red-tape to hinder this pronouncement. I expect all civil servants in relevant sector ministries to work towards the harmonization of the legal and institutional framework to actualize this pronouncement,” President Lungu said.
The record of the diversification programme in the last 50 years has not been satisfactory with about 80% of export earnings still derived from copper, making the country highly vulnerable to fluctuations in the global economy.