PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says his government has continued creating a better Zambia for all by providing inspirational and visionary leadership as well as promoting inclusive governance.
And President Lungu says his government shall continue to ensure that the country enjoys peace ahead of this year’s general election, adding that the law will take its full course on any erring individuals.
He was speaking during this year’s National Youth Day celebrations, Friday, commemorated under the theme “enhancing national development through sustainable youth partnerships”.
President Lungu called on youths to reject political violence and further challenged them to participate fully in the electoral process and aspire for leadership positions.
He said his government had continued creating a better Zambia for all by providing inspirational and visionary leadership to the nation.
“Fellow countrymen and women, we have continued creating a better Zambia for all by providing inspirational and visionary leadership to the nation and promoting inclusive governance. Therefore, as the nation prepares for the general elections this year, I call for openness, transparency, cooperation, peace, mutual understanding and respect among all political players and stakeholders. I challenge you, the youth, to participate fully in the electoral process and aspire for leadership positions. I also call upon you to reject political violence as it cannot only destroy our country, but could cost you a life. We only have one country. We need to guard jealously the peace that we are enjoying. My government shall continue to ensure that the country and the citizens enjoy peace ahead of this year’s general elections and that the law will take its full course on any erring individuals,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State said that his government would continue to support the youth in various sectors to prevent them from engaging in vices that destroyed their future.
“My government will continue to support the youth in various sectors in order to prevent them from engaging in vices that oftentimes destroy their future. To this effect, my government has put in place policies that provide guidance on the development and engagement of the youths such as, the Seventh National Development Plan, National Youth Policy, Industrialisation and Job Creation strategy and the Action Plan for Youth Empowerment and Employment. These policies are a clear demonstration of my government’s renewed commitment towards uplifting the living standards of our youths as they advocate for a coherent, multi-sectoral and mainstreamed approach to youth empowerment and employment creation,” President Lungu said.
He, therefore, called on all public and private actors to fully focus on youth participation and enhance efforts towards mainstreaming youths in all their programmes.
President Lungu also urged the youth to rise to the occasion and participate fully in all matters that affected their well-being and the country’s development at large.
Meanwhile, the Head of State urged the youth to engage themselves in various empowerment projects to contribute to the development of the country.
“Our population is predominantly youthful with the energetic, innovative and productive age group of 18 to 35 years constituting 36 per cent of the total population. I, therefore, take cognisance of the critical role they play in the development process of our country. My government has provided enablers such as empowerment programmes and has invested huge sums of money for this purpose. For instance, my government has disbursed a sum of K470 million to the Ministry of Youth, Sport, and Child Development for youth empowerment, targeting 150,000 youths to venture into various empowerment projects. In addition, my government has also provided opportunities under the aquaculture value chain as well as the tourism sector,” he said.
“I, therefore, urge the youth to take this opportunity to engage themselves in various empowerment projects to contribute to the development of the nation. The Patriotic Front manifesto advocates for youths to play a leading role in the development of the country, as such, my government continues to prioritise youth development. Tremendous progress has been made in youth development through a number of empowerment programmes under the multi-sectoral youth empowerment programme. So far, seven provinces have benefited and the process is ongoing.”
He highlighted some of the empowerment programmes that government was implementing.
“Some of the empowerment programmes that my government is implementing include the following: 1. Transport empowerment; my government is targeting 1,800 youths to benefit from the transport empowerment programme. The transport programme ranges from taxis, minibuses and fuel tanker trucks. My government, through the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, has already procured 50 fuel tankers. 25 are already in the country and two have already been given to the youth to start operating. Today, my government is empowering 25 cooperatives of young people with a fuel tanker each, affirming government’s commitment to sustainable youth partnerships in national development,” President Lungu said.
“I urge the youth who are benefitting from these tankers to guard this empowerment jealously and ensure they significantly contribute to quality life for your families, and ultimately, to the development of our country. 2. Milling plants through the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, my government is targeting to reach 2,200 youths who can establish milling plants. The youths will be linked to available markets for production of mealie meal, cassava meal and stockfeed. The project is aimed at contributing to job creation and employment for over 1,000 youths along the value chain.”
He added that government was among others also providing start-up capital to the youth, who were engaged in micro, small and medium enterprises to boost their businesses on loan basis as this would in-turn enable them to grow and be able to employ their fellow youths.