Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya says Cabinet has approved a total of $241,106,088.00 to support the engineering design, rehabilitation, upgrading and construction of urban roads in Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces.

And Siliya says Cabinet has also, through the International Development Association (IDA), approved the implementation of the Electricity Service Access Project which is aimed at increasing the country’s electricity access in targeted rural areas.

Siliya said in a statement issued yesterday that the adjustments were made at the 3rd Cabinet Meeting held on Monday, February 29, 2018, at State House, where about six substantive agenda items were discussed.

“President Edgar Lungu and his Cabinet have agreed to continue with infrastructure projects country-wide as the Government is aware that it is through such projects that economic progress could be achieved. Therefore, a total of US$ 241,106,088.00 of which 85% (US $204,940,174.80) will be provided by the Export-Import Bank of China while the 15% (US$ 36,165,914) will be provided by the Industrial Commercial Bank of China,” Siliya said.

“The general scope includes periodic maintenance, rehabilitation (gravel to paved and single lanes to double lanes) and new construction of approximately 400 Km roads, construction of 1 grade separated junction, construction of 90 Km of walkways and re-engineering of 10 junctions in the City of Lusaka project. With this project, the face of Lusaka City is expected to change completely as has been the case with key roads such as Chilumbulu; Burma; Nationalist; the Matero/Lilanda; Old Mumbwa Road and many others in townships. Cabinet further, emphasised the need for all road projects under this project to include drainages and street lighting.”

Siliya stated that cabinet also approved the rehabilitation, upgrading and construction of approximately 152 Killometers of selected Township roads of Coperbelt’s kitwe, Chingola and Mufulira districts.

“During the same Meeting, Cabinet approved the financing of roads on the Copperbelt Province. For this project, a total amount of US$ 197,391,777.85 was approved to finance the implementation of the engineering design, rehabilitation, upgrading and construction of approximately 152 km of selected township roads in Kitwe, Chingola and Mufulira in Copperbelt Province dubbed, the Lot 1 Project. The project also includes walkways, street lighting and traffic lights at selected junctions. Like the L400, this project will also involve the putting up of drainages,” she explained.

And, Siliya disclosed that cabinet also approved the implementation of the Electricity Service Access Project.

“The support from International Development Association (IDA) amounts to US$ 27,972,919.06 to finance the implementation of the Electricity Service Access Project. Government has identified the Electricity Service Access Project as a priority project with the main objective of increasing electricity access in the country’s targeted rural areas. Government is aware that with improved accessibility of electricity, especially in rural areas, this will enhance establishment of industries in these areas, thereby, increase economic activity,” Siliya stated.

Siliya further said Cabinet approved in principle to the introduction of a Bill in Parliament that would provide for the conversion of Medical Stores Limited into a Statutory Government Agency.

“Currently, Medical Stores Limited is being supervised by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) as majority shareholder [at] 98% and Ministry of Health holds 2% of the shares. Continued placement of Medical Stores Limited under the IDC implies that it will be considered as a profit-oriented entity which is contrary to its mandate. Furthermore, Medical Stores Limited is a grant-aided institution with all its income coming by way of a grant from the Treasury and from Cooperating Partners. Since its creation in 1976, Medical Stores Limited has been operating under the Companies Act and has endeavoured to provide the necessary medical supplies,” she stated.

And Siliya disclosed that cabinet also discussed matters pertaining to the HIV infection and further agreed to introduce a bill to parliament that would repeal and replace National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council Act, No. 10 of 2002 for a number of reasons.

“Cabinet approved in principle, to the introduction of a bill in Parliament to repeal and replace the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council Act, No 10 of 2002 in order to: strengthen the legal framework which provides for coordination, monitoring and evaluation of multi-sectoral national response for the prevention and combating of the spread of HIV and AIDS, STI and TB to reduce personal, social and economic impacts of HIV and, AIDS, STI and TB. Intorducing such a bill would also enhance public health protection through adoption of best practices in the prevention and management of HIV and AIDS, STI and TB; and to right size the composition of the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council in order to provide for a lean but effective governing body,” Siliya stated.

The minister also disclosed that Cabinet approved the appointment of two Government officials to sit on the National Prosecution Authority Board.

“There has been a vacancy in the position of Vice-Chairperson of the Board for the Authority and in the position of a Member appointed as a representative of the Ministry responsible for labour due to staff movements within the Ministries responsible for Justice and Labour. These appointments complete the required number for the National Prosecution Authority Board, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7 (1), of National Prosecution Authority Act, No. 34 of 2010.”

Further, Siliya stated that Cabinet also reviewed a brief statement delivered by Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe on the performance of the country’s economic and predicted continued positive growth and macroeconomic stability in 2018.