President Edgar Lungu says government is resolved to grow the country’s economy by at least five per cent and maintain a stable exchange rate with a single digit inflation in 2018.

And President Lungu says he is concerned about the pace at which the delivery of farming inputs is being done.

Meanwhile, President Lungu who was speaking in his address to the nation on New Year’s Eve, said 2017 had been quite a challenging year for government due to political tension experienced in the aftermath of the 2016 general elections.

“Let me thank each one of you for your resilience amidst the tough but desperate decisions we took to maintain peace and unity towards national development. I also thank cooperating partners from the private sector for their contribution towards the successes recorded in 2017. I am confident that in the coming year, we will by working together overcome obstacles that may come our way. As we enter the new year 2018, let us be more determined and resolved in working hard to achieve prosperity for all. Next year, government will work towards growing the economy by at least five per cent, maintaining a stable exchange rate and a single digit inflation rate. We will also strengthen domestic revenue collection and accelerate economic diversification to create new jobs and more wealth for our people,” President Lungu said.

The President also disclosed that his administration would work towards modernizing and expanding public services to improve the quality of life for Zambian citizens.

“To ensure that we leave no one behind and improve quality of life for citizens, government will continue to modernize and expand public services. At the centre of government and its ability to deliver, there must be a dedicated and focused public service. Government will continue to ensure that the implementers of its programmes, all public servants are placed in appropriate places countrywide and capacitated to deliver the much needed services to our people. We will also continue to promote a conducive political environment through dialogue, peaceful dissolution of dispute and upholding of rights and freedoms of our people. I therefore urge the Church, religious groups and traditional leaders to continue giving counsel to the State, individuals and other stakeholders,” he said.

“I also call upon all stakeholders to conduct their affairs in a responsible manner and within the confines of the law. The task ahead of us is huge and it requires that we work together for the common good. We hold the key to unlocking the potential of what this country can be, together we can transform our country into a prosperous and all-inclusive nation. Let us build a nation where everyone contributes to the best of their ability, a nation where everyone gets fresh air from their hard work, a nation abundant in compassion, love and care especially for the weakest members of our society.”

And President Lungu directed the Ministry of Agriculture to expedite the distribution of farming inputs.

“I am concerned with the pace of farming input distributions and therefore, I wish to direct all those tasked with this serious responsibility to do more to get seed and fertilizer to all parts of the country and this should be done now. Country men and women, it has been a challenging one year coming out of a highly contested general election that heightened political tension for a considerable portion of the year, we lost a lot of time getting the country back to work and I am glad that most of the post election problems have been resolved, although we still have a collective responsibility to transform these challenges into good lessons for the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, the President pledged his commitment to the national dialogue process.

“We all must come to national dialogue in good faith for the sake of mother Zambia. Personally and on behalf of the Patriotic Front, I wish to pledge full support to any credible process of dialogue. We are not prepared to lose anymore time on political trivialities, we have a government to run, we have a country to take care of and people want tangible progress on many fronts and so, we as politicians should not subject them to fruitless arguments, please. As PF and President of the Patriotic Front, I wish to therefore commit to broad base constitutional, legal and electoral reforms designed to bring about a more open and tolerant political dispensation all round. As we begin our journey into the new year, we should remain resolved to do more for ourselves, our communities and the nation than we did in 2017. Let us once again commit to working even harder for the good of our nation, our children and generations to come,” said President Lungu.