Chief supports removal of subsides

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Chief supports removal of subsides

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Milenge, June 25, ZANIS—- Senior Chief Milambo of the Ushi people of Luapula province in Milenge district has praised President Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front government for removing subsidies on fuel and maize.

Senior Chief Milambo praised President Sata for taking a bold decision in order to create funds to mitigate the sufferings of the most vulnerable and poor people in the country.

The traditional leader was speaking through his Representative Mannix Kasepa when Community Development Mother and Child Health Minister Joseph Katema and Luapula Province Minister Benson Kapaya paid a courtesy call on him in Milenge district yesterday.

Senior Chief was happy with the decision because a subsidy should not become a way of life as there should come a time when reality must be faced and the resources which were being used for subsidies should be channelled to other critical programmes of helping the most vulnerable and poor people especially in rural areas.

He added that the people of Zambia have banked on the promises made by the Patriotic Front when they were in the opposition and now that PF was in government it must focus on the translation of all the electoral pledges and promises into tangible results for the benefit of all Zambians.

He said if the PF fails to deliver on its promises, the Zambian people will have nowhere to turn to because all their hopes were with the PF.

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Meanwhile, Senior chief Milambo has urged the government to look at Milenge as a special case saying despite being given a district status in 1997 it had nothing to show for the district status except a civic centre structure.

He said Milenge district has been neglected for a long time as though it was a district in another country and now that the PF was in government, the people of Milenge were hopeful that some road infrastructure, improved communication, decent housing and social amenities will come to the district.

He said he was grateful to President Sata for giving the people of Luapula some four districts, a Trade Institute and a University which will help the people of the province in their development process because human capital was critical to sustainable development.

Chief Milambo also noted that the social cash transfer which the minister of community development mother and child health had brought to Milenge was a demonstration of government’s consideration for the sufferings of the people of Milenge.

He said the programme was a good scheme which was started by the UNIP government and the MMD continued with it and it was good that even the PF government has demonstrated practically that it was a good programme aimed at helping the most vulnerable households in rural areas of the country.

He said there was need to bring good schools and clinics to the district because the population was growing and needed additional infrastructure.

The traditional leader has urged the government to develop the Mumbotuta falls for hydropower generation for the district to start accessing hydro energy as currently the entire district had no power, a situation he said was making most civil servants to shun the area due to lack of power.

He said the road from Mwawuni to Chiswishi bridge was in a deplorable state and needed to be worked on in order to make travelling in Milenge district bearable.

He said as a chief, he was always not happy to hear political leaders quarrelling in the media instead of working together to develop the country.

Chief Milambo said as an elderly person who has experienced life under many other leaders, says there is need for political leaders to work together and develop the country through supporting the current government.

The traditional leader who cited the UNIP’s 27 years governance time, MMD’s 20 years in power and now the PF said the current government needed to be given a chance to develop Zambia.

He said quarrelling in the media was not progressive but patriotism was prime in driving the developmental agenda of the country regardless of one’s political affiliation because Zambia was bigger that a political party.

And Community Development Mother and Child Health Minister Joseph Katema said it was important for people to be sensitised that there were various opportunities through which funds for economic empowerment could be accessed.

Dr Katema said removal of subsidies is one way of raising funds for diverse developmental projects as savings from the subsidies will benefit the majority Zambians as opposed to the few who benefited through subsidised maize and fuel.

Dr Katema said government in its efforts to reduce poverty is supporting various communities through line ministries and his ministry was running the food security pack and gave out seed and fertilizer to deserving vulnerable households.

He also said the ministry of gender has a fund for empowering women clubs and the youth ministry was also giving out loans to the vulnerable but viable youth with good business ideas.

Dr Katema has since implored traditional leaders to work together with district officers in his ministry to help the deserving people in their chiefdoms to access the funds.

He said his ministry will ensure that the forms from remote districts like Milenge were approved quickly for people to get the funds without delays.

Meanwhile, Dr Katema disclosed that the 650 health posts which government has already planned to construct countrywide will begin soon as all the tendering processes have been addressed for the works to commence in essence.

He also said that the Ministry of Transport and Communications was also tasked to ensure that the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) constructs a tower in all the chiefdoms as funds for the exercise have already been set aside.

And Luapula Province Minister Brigadier General Benson Kapaya confirmed the communication from ZICTA on the setting up of communication towers in chiefdoms and that suitable sites have already been identified for the purpose.

And outgoing Milenge District Commissioner Mumba Mushitu also confirmed submitting the proposed sites for the installation of the towers to the relevant authorities and was just waiting for the works to commence when ZICTA was ready for the task.

Mr Mushitu said Milenge residents were currently using isolated anthills as spots of communication for the presence of some networks, a situation he said was not convenient especially during night time because communication must be made easy, accessible and affordable by all.  

He also disclosed that Milenge district was poised to benefit eight health posts from the proposed 650 that will be constructed countrywide and the sites have already been identified as there will be four in Milenge East and the other four in Milenge West.

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