President Edgar Lungu has commissioned the construction of the $397 million Copperbelt International Airport saying he will not waste any more time on meaningless politics because campaign time is over.
And President Lungu has condemned the clash between UPND and PF cadres at Lusaka’s Memorial Park on Saturday.
And President Lungu says the Airport which will be constructed within a period of three years will create over 5000 jobs once completed and about 3000 jobs at construction stage.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the Copperbelt International Airport in Ndola today, the President said he would not waste time on talking about meaningless politics when he had a lot of development to deliver to the people of Zambia.
“We will waste no more time on meaningless politics. If what we are doing is not work, then what is it? Am going to Chingola this afternoon to commission the $493 million Copperbelt 400Km (C400) road project and in a week or two, we [will be] coming to Mufulira to commission the Mufulira/Ndola road as the contractor is already on site, what do you call this? Actually, let me even end here because campaign time is long gone, we are working,” President Lungu said.
The President projected that over 5000 jobs would be created once the Airport was completed and further announced that employment priority on the Copperbelt would be given to residents in that Province especially those in Ndola.
“3000 Jobs will be created at construction stage and over 5000 more jobs when it’s done. Zambian Contractors should also be equal to the task, they should not let us down. It is very sad that our Contractors will ask for these opportunities only to let us down once they have been offered. This time, it should be different,” President Lungu said.
“Ndola Youths should be given priority so that we fulfill that campaign promise of more Jobs in the district. We promised jobs through sustained revival of the Copperbelt and we are here to do that and we remain focused to achieve that.”
President Lungu observed that the 7th National Development Plan (7NDP) would not be achieved without good infrastructure development in place.
“Government has prioritised transport and communication because it is critical for development. For us to diversify the economy as contained in the 7th National Development, we must construct infrastructure necessary for the level of development we envision. We cherish Copperbelt for its economic leadership for throughout our nation’s history, Copperbelt has been in the economic driving seat. We have prioritised agriculture and tourism because mining has a deadline. We will achieve our diversification agenda,” he said.
However, President Lungu said government would still consult aviation experts on the final name to be given to the Airport as people were still debating the issue.
“My fellow cadres, I do not know exactly whether we should call this in the manner my competent Copperbelt provincial minister [Bowman Lusambo] has put it or we should refer to it as the Copperbelt International Airport. The Aviation experts need to advise us. Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe was a great son of this country and I would not mind the Airport being named after him,” said President Lungu.
“Once completed, the new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe or Copperbelt International Airport will play a critical role in diversification as it will attract revenue from tourism and uplift Zambia’s face in the global Market. Zambia is poised to become the passenger and goods hub for the region.”
The Copperbelt International Airport will also constitute the construction of 1 million capacity terminal building, a hotel, business complex, cargo terminal, fuel farm among other Airport facilities.
And President Lungu urged cadres to refrain from violent activities.
Speaking to journalists upon arrival from Chingola at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport yesterday, the Head of State regretted the violence that erupted at the graveyard, urging PF cadres to emulate their leaders by avoiding conflict.