Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has said government has put in place a number of policies and strategies aimed at addressing challenges of unemployment in Zambia.
Mr Yamba also pledged Government’s commitment to continue focusing on industrialisation, employment and wealthy creation in order to reduce poverty and inequality on a sustainable basis.
This is contained in a statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today by Ministry of Finance Public Relations Officer Chileshe Kandeta.
The Secretary to the Treasury said this will be achieved by investing in sectors that have been identified to best promote employment for the youthful population, significantly increase productivity in the economy by empowering workers with the requisite skills for the 21st century, contribute to higher and inclusive growth, and develop rural areas to narrow the urban rural divide.
He said these sectors include agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and construction sectors.
Mr Yamba also stated that infrastructure development is an indispensable pillar in government t’s efforts to raise business productivity, diversify the economy, promote inclusive growth and create employment and income earning opportunities.
He said in this regard, tangible progress has been made in developing key infrastructure not only in the transport, communications and energy sectors but also in social sectors of health and education.
Mr Yamba disclosed that there were several projects that have been lined up in 2015, adding that for inclusive growth, emphasis will be place on social sectors.
And the Secretary to the Treasury has directed statutory organisations, grant aided institutions, ministries, provinces and other spending agencies to give preference to locally produced goods in line with the industrialisation and job creation strategy with the view to boost actualisation of the anticipated productivity and growth.
He said in order to ensure the measure is effectively implemented, government has with effect from January 1, 2015, removed the voucher system applicable on the affected imports by Statutory Organisations, Grant aided institutions, ministries, provinces and other spending agencies.
Mr Yamba further stated that to safeguard jobs and create employment opportunities, government will continue to strengthen the capacity and productivity of state owned enterprises.
He said government has in the 2015 budget approved by parliament and has therefore put aside resources for recapitalisation, value chain development, and youth development programmes.
He said among the beneficiaries are the K70 million for the Development Bank of Zambia to support the financing needs of small and medium scale enterprises, K35 million for the Lusaka Multi Facility Economic Zone to facilitate infrastructure development and support the growth of the manufacturing sector, K83 million to the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission to support value chain development and K55 million for youth skills training and development programmes.
Others are K30 million for rehabilitation works at the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, K12.5 million for recapitalisation of public media organisations, K40 million for recapitalisation of airport infrastructure in order to unlock the massive potential for growth and employment in the tourism sector, K15 million for recapitalisation of Government Printers and, K14 million for recapitalisation of Zampost.
The rest areK10 million for the Micro-Bankers Trust, K7.5 million for the Zambia Cooperative federation, K15 million for recapitalisation of ZAFFICO, K60 million for the Public Service Micro Finance for loans to Public Service Workers, and, K60 million for payment of terminal benefits to former ZAMTEL workers.
Mr. Yamba stated that these interventions will invariably contribute to sustaining economic growth as some of these organisations and programmes hold the greatest potential for wealth and employment, and job security.