Kasolo rolls out Luapula blueprint

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NEWLY-APPOINTED Luapula Province permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo has rolled out what he says is a ‘robust’ blue print that will help him take development to Luapula Province.
Mr Kasolo said in Lusaka yesterday that just as he was instructed by President Sata, he has already started bringing on board the traditional leadership in the province so as to ascertain which projects need to be revamped immediately.
He said he is ready—working as a team with the provincial minister and everybody else to facilitate investment projects that are people-driven and labour-intensive.
Mr Kasolo said Luapula Province has been a ‘sleeping giant’ in areas such as agriculture, mining, tourism and industry and now needs to be awakened from its slumber.
“This is a province endowed with a lot of natural resources, has huge potential, has approximately 60 percent of Zambia’s water resources though it still lags in development,” he said.
Mr Kasolo said in the agricultural sector, Kawambwa Tea needs urgent attention as it has been run down over the years.
He said the company, which used to employ over 450 Kawambwa residents, now has only 16 workers.
Mr Kasolo said if nothing is done immediately, the people of Kawambwa and Luapula in general will continue to wallow in poverty while they have the necessary resources.
The Mununshi Banana Scheme, which is in private hands and currently, has only 500 hectares of land in use, will also be looked at seriously.
He also said there is a rubber plantation in Nchelenge which needs huge investment for it to realise its full potential.
Mr Kasolo said there are some investors who have expressed willingness to invest in these projects and that what remains cardinal is to ensure that Zambians benefit.
He said there is also need for value addition for anything which is produced in the country so that the local people can fully benefit.
In Mansa, Mr Kasolo said the palm oil project is another area he will consider.
He said several plantations across Luapula should be extended into out- grower schemes to make them viable.
Mr Kasolo also said he will revamp the Chishinga Ranch which he sees as a potential supplier of beef products.
Mr Kasolo said despite being an area endowed with a lot of water, the fishing industry is not performing to expected standards.
“There is need to ensure that there is fish restocking in the water bodies around Luapula such as lakes Bangweulu, Mweru and the Luapula River,” he said.
He said there are investors from Israel that have shown interest in revamping the fish industry.
Mr Kasolo bemoaned the depleting of fish stocks and attributed this to lack of proper policing and adherence to fish bans and other regulations such as the use of wrong fishing nets.
He said once these measures are put in place, the fishing industry in Luapula will be rejuvenated.
Mr Kasolo said the mining sector is another area that has great potential in Luapula. He said manganese mining will have to be revamped so that it brings back factories such as the Mansa Batteries.
He said Mansa Batteries infrastructure has been run down and that there is every need to bring it back.
Mr Kasolo said the tourism industry needs investment, especially that there are several tourist attractions such as water falls and traditional ceremonies.
He said game parks also need to be restocked with game so as to make them attractive to tourists.
Mr Kasolo said once all the projects are initiated, there will be massive job creation in the province.
He said the people of Luapula need to be helped through job creation as they played a pivotal role by supporting President Sata during the 2011 elections.

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