PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says ifwe tulebomba, ifipuba filetalika.

And President Lungu says he is not ashamed to tell the people of Zambia that government is borrowing to change the face of the country.

Speaking when he commissioned the Arcades flyover bridge, Friday, President Lungu said the ruling PF was working while fools were criticizing.

“Zambians always have stories to tell when they visit countries that have modern infrastructure. Stories are told about road networks, shopping malls, internet connectivity and many other nice things witnessed by people who have travelled to other countries. Not any more. We have created our own beautiful sites, including where we are right now. Just take a minute and look around, what do you see? We have a marvel of a fly-over bridge I am commissioning today. We have built other fly-over bridges, and we are still building some more. What about the shopping malls around Zambia? The universities, the hospitals, the airports, and still the bridges like the Mongu-Kalabo bridge, and the Kazungula bridge which is yet to be commissioned? Ifwe tulebomba, ifipuba filetalika (we are working, fools are criticizing),” President Lungu said.

“They are using the same roads but they are laughing that we haven’t done anything. They are still arguing that we are not working. I was in Luapula Province where I heard a slogan. I hope people will not be offended, but there they have a slogan saying ‘PF ilebomba, ifipuba filetalika, ifintu filechinja, ifupuba filetalika (The PF is working, fools are criticizing. Things are changing, fools are criticizing).”

And President Lungu said as long as government officials didn’t “chew” the money, borrowing was okay.

“What about the roads that have been built or rebuilt? All these and many other infrastructure have been built by my administration in the very shortest possible time of our stay in government. This is the promise that we made to the Zambian people, and we are not ashamed to tell our people that, yes we borrowed and we are borrowing to change the face of Zambia. Of course our critics have said, and we continue to campaign, that we were reckless for having borrowed. But they are shy to tell the people frankly how that money we borrowed has been used. This is how that money was used. If I may ask, what is better, borrowing to transform the country, or not borrowing and doing nothing at all? We are borrowing as long as we don’t chew the money. The same people are enjoying the benefits of our borrowing,” President Lungu said.

“It is from borrowing that we have managed to rebuild Lusaka. And some people question why too many projects in Lusaka? Lusaka of course is the capital city of Zambia; and we have to rebuild Lusaka because it is the face of Zambia. Even international travelers arrive in Lusaka first before driving or flying to other areas of the country. But then again, investment can only come to Lusaka and the rest of Zambia if we have a proper road network because investors do not want to put up factories or investments where there are no roads. How can they transport their products where there are bad roads or no roads at all? Investors believe in efficiency, and they do not want to spend hours on short distances due to bad roads. And once investors flood our country due to good roads, jobs will be created and that is what I care about. I want every Zambian to be in work to contribute to the development of our country.”

President Lungu said it pained him to see uninvited unemployed youths attending events such as the commissioning of projects because they did not have anything to do.

“It pains me to see our youth come to events like this uninvited often only because they have little or nothing else to do. I want the youth to be in employment of any kind and contribute to rebuilding mother Zambia. We need to rebuild Zambia together. This is why when my critics talk about stopping projects I tell them, do you want the lucky few who are in employment to be thrown out into the streets soon? The answer is no. It is rebuilding Zambia that will create employment, and our projects have indeed helped to keep our people in employment,” President Lungu said.

He thanked the Indian government for the financial support to the Lusaka decongestion project.

“This is why I should take this moment to thank the Indian government for the financial support to the Lusaka decongestion project of which this bridge I am commissioning 6 today is a culmination. To the Indian government, I say thank you very much. My government has committed to finance 15 percent of the project while the Indian government, through Exim bank has committed 85 percent funding to the project that will decongest Lusaka. The total road works is 120.7 kilometers and I am happy that Zambian contractors, apart from AFCONS of India, are participating in rebuilding Lusaka. Even AFCONS have employed Zambian engineers and other workers. The details of this project include a new outer ring road that has been built from Kafue road to new Mumbwa road. It further stretches from Lusaka west and joins the great North Road,” said President Lungu.

“Apart from this bridge I am commissioning now, we have the Munali fly-over bridge, only four kilometers from here and about to be completed. The Makeni fly-over bridge was completed and commissioned and works are underway at the Longacres roundabout for another fly-over bridge. Works are also in progress at the Kabwe and Kafue fly-over bridges. 7 not only that, we have seen the expansion of roads at Mosi-o-tunya, Chindo-bishop, Friday’s corner, Nangwenya-Kamloops-Alick Nkhata, kamloops, Longacres to Alick Nkhata, Kudu road and Kabulonga road. Also expanded are Munali-Mutumbi, Kafue-Mumbwa, Zambezi road and Nangwenya road. More importantly, through this project alone, over 1000 direct jobs have been created and numerous business opportunities for Zambians made available. We surely as the PF government deserve accolades for this amazing and unprecedented development.”

Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner to Zambia Ngulkam Jathom Gangte said the flyover bridge would not only facilitate a smooth flow of traffic but also give a contemporary look to the city.