State on job creation path – Sampa

Miles Sampa
Miles Sampa

GOVERNMENT says it will continue to empower Zambians economically through job creation to achieve the one million target in the next five years.
Commerce, Trade and Industry deputy minister Miles Sampa said despite the citizen empowerment process being slow, Government is determined to forge ahead with the policy to fulfil the job creation promise made to the people during PF’s campaign period.
“Our citizen empowerment policy is to some extent on course though the pace is slow. We still have challenges to put up structures on the ground to support the policy. We are happy that in many provinces, various programmes to empower citizens have been initiated,” he said.
Mr Sampa said, in an interview with the Daily Mail in Lusaka on Thursday.
In his opening speech to Parliament last year, President Sata said Government, in respect to job creation, would start implementing a national strategy on industrialisation and job creation, targeting four growth sectors being agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and construction.
Mr Sampa commended stakeholders for complementing Government’s efforts to improve the wellbeing of Zambians through various initiatives.
He said efforts use both Government and stakeholders to create employment are yielding positive fruits as evidenced by the number of people being employed in various sectors of the economy, especially in mining and construction.
He said the PF administration is positive that formal employment figures are rising and was hopeful that the Central Statistics Office has compiled data on recent created jobs.
On the fluctuating copper prices, Mr Sampa said Government is not worried with the trend of the commodity on the international market because the demand for the commodity is still high and that production is expected.
“The price of copper on the international market is fluctuating but we shouldn’t be worried because the demand for copper has kept growing as countries like China still need the commodity. Our mines’ production capacity also continues to increase, so we believe the situation will improve,” he said.
Some analysts and mine owners have expressed concern about constant fluctuations in the  price of copper, a key foreign exchange earner and Zambia’s economic mainstay.
They say the current copper price fluctuation trend could raise mines’ production costs and trigger job losses and affect revenue contribution to Government.
However, Mr Sampa said Government has embarked on diversifying the economy to make other sectors play a positive role in generating foreign income to develop the country.
Zambia, now the third largest copper producer in the world, produced over 700,000 metric tonnes in 2011 and production is expected to increase to over a million by 2016.