PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says it pays to work for oneself, encouraging youths to value self-employment so that they can also employ others.

And President Hichilema says his administration remains committed to supporting every Zambian youth.

Speaking during the national Youth Indaba, Friday, President Hichilema directed Minister of Youths Elvis Nkandu to organise provincial youth indabas and also ensure that every Zambian youth benefitted from empowerment funds.

“I was chatting with the Minister of Youth to probably set up a small team. I am sure you have planned it already to draw an action plan that will take into account various pieces, but all of those are aimed at actualising the vision for youth for opportunities in different respects. I want to give you my own example, working for yourself pays. But there is no option once you draw in the plan, we look at legal issues, we look at the challenges, we look at the opportunities, how we match them, then we must be organised in working to archive those we have set for ourselves,” President Hichilema said.

“We working with you, want to create as I said matching the needs, the challenges, with opportunities. Working with you to create genuine, dignified, economically, financially beneficial and sustainable mechanisms for one, jobs, employment. But more importantly, I must say Minister Youth, I must boldly say to the youth today more importantly to create self-employment opportunities for our youth. You have already discussed a lot, thank you to the Vice-President for delivering the speech on my behalf, thank you to the Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, whoever presented what different ministries have in terms of facilities, in terms of opportunities, thank you for that.”

President Hichilema urged the youths to value self-employment.

“But I want to argue with you, put it on the table that the greater number and the most satisfying thing to do when you get a spot and you should get it, is to value self-employment opportunities so you can employ yourself, your family members, one or two members of society. We want to make that possible going forward but the starting point is education, diversity of skills. We are talented differently and this your government recognizes that. Mwamene tisiyanila kumanso nama talents tisiyana (the same way we have different facial features is the same way we are different talent-wise),” he said.

President Hichilema called on Zambians, especially the youths to get organised in order to build the country’s economy.

“We must be organised. If we are not organised we will not be able to achieve. There are difficulties, remember we inherited an economy that was growing at 6, 7% in 2011 and it was down to zero, it was taken down to minus. There are challenges but walking together in an organised way will bottom up with [the] economy. We will create together more opportunities to actualize the dreams of our youth. I am saying that we have challenges because of the state of the economy we inherited. There will be sometimes that we need to button up those things to create opportunities for the youths and the people,” President Hichilema said.

“It is in those times that we should hold our hands even tighter so that we can ride over those challenges. I am told that the minister of youth has committed that amongst other things, most contracts in that ministry, services, goods will go to the youth. But there is a lot more than that, so minister, youth leaders, colleagues, cooperating partners, let us work out this action plan deliverable and it will have the full support of this new dawn government, each one of us doing what they are able to do to make the youth situation better than where we found it.”

And President Hichilema said his administration remained committed to supporting every Zambian youth.

“This UPND new dawn government will support the youth agenda because it is the right thing to do, they are the majority of the population, they are the today and future leaders. We must change the narrative of imiti ikula empanga (today’s bush is tomorrow’s forest). You are the empanga (forest) today, so I want to thank the organisers once more of this beautiful initiative, make maximum use of it. The youths send the message back to the members of your groups that are not here and maybe minister we must find an opportunity to roll out to have similar indabas in the provinces,” he said.

President Hichilema also urged the Ministry of Education to come up with a curriculum that promotes talents.

“I think the starting point and we should work together, then because it is the genesis, it is the beginning of true youth empowerment is the skills. Not just to train to become a doctor, to become an engineer but to begin – minister of youth and minister of education I have seen you here – to change the curriculum so that we can also focus on the talents. So that the young people have skill. Artisan skills are no less important than medical skills, self-employment skills, talents. We must identify your talent earlier,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Hichilema directed the Minister of Youths to ensure that every Zambian youth benefits from the empowerment funds.

“Sometimes we create segregation when there is no need to. I was saying there is no youth who is not part of this country to start with. So the thing, those things that unite our youth, unite our people before we talk of political party, before we talk of ethnicity, especially imwe bana bang’ono, osakamba zamitundu (the younger generation do not discuss issues of tribe) don’t work along those lines. Those who divided us on ethnic lines, luckily they lost the last election. We should not return to those days at all because we are one Zambia one nation, one nation one people, but also we are children of God,” said President Hichilema.