What President Lungu said at CB show

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• THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SHOW SOCIETY;
• HONOURABLE CABINET MINISTERS PRESENT;
• THE HONOURABLE PROVINCIAL MINISTER;
• EXHIBITORS;
• SHOW GOERS;
• MEMBERS OF THE PRESS;
• DISTINGUISHED GUESTS;
• LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (second from right) and Agricultural Minister Michael Katambo inspects stands during the 62 Copperbelt Agricultural Mining Industrial Networking Enteprise (CAMINEX) 2019 in Kitwe on Tuesday,June 4,2019. Picture by Salim Henry / State House
      IT IS A PLEASURE FOR ME TO OFFICIATE AT THIS YEAR’S COPPERBELT AGRICULTURAL, MINING, INDUSTRIAL, NETWORKING AND ENTERPRISE EXPO (CAMINEX).  

      THE THEME FOR THIS YEAR’S EXPO IS INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP FOR EMPOWERMENT AND GROWTH.  THIS THEME IS APPROPRIATE, GIVEN THE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE ECONOMY, PARTICULARLY IN THE MINING SECTOR. IT ALSO REFLECTS THE NEED FOR GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO BUILD STRONG PARTNERSHIPS WHICH WILL GUARANTEE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR THE COUNTRY.  

    THESE PARTNERSHIPS SHOULD BE AIMED AT EMPOWERING THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE BY PROVIDING MEANINGFUL AND SUSTAINABLE JOBS.  

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

       OUR ROLE, AS GOVERNMENT, IS TO ENSURE THAT WE CREATE A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO FLOURISH.

         IN THE RECENT PAST, THE COUNTRY EXPERIENCED ERRATIC RAINFALL AND IN SOME CASES, PROLONGED DROUGHT, THEREBY AFFECTING CROP PRODUCTION, ESPECIALLY IN THE COUNTRY’S SOUTHERN PARTS. THIS HAS LARGELY BEEN DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS.  

         DESPITE THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF WEATHER ON AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION, THE COUNTRY REMAINS FOOD SECURE.  OUR FARMERS HAVE MANAGED TO PRODUCE SUFFICIENT FOOD TO BEEF UP THE COUNTRY’S FOOD SECURITY.

        MY GOVERNMENT IS VERY MUCH ALIVE TO THE CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS AND HAS BEEN DEVISING STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE ITS IMPACT.  

       MOVING FORWARD, GOVERNMENT IS PROMOTING CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES, CONDUCTING RESEARCH ON DROUGHT TOLERANT CROP VARIETIES, ADAPTATION OF LIVESTOCK BREEDS AND INVESTMENT IN IRRIGATION INFRASTRUCTURE, LIKE THE MUSAKASHI IRRIGATION SCHEME IN MUFULIRA ON THE COPPERBELT PROVINCE.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE COPPERBELT PROVINCE HAS GREAT POTENTIAL FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AS IT POSSESSES GOOD CLIMATIC CONDITIONS.

    CURRENTLY, THE PROVINCE CONTRIBUTES ABOUT 11 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL MAIZE PRODUCTION AND UP TO 19 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL SOYA BEANS PRODUCTION.  THIS IS A CLEAR INDICATION THAT THE PROVINCE CAN CONTRIBUTE MORE TOWARDS THE COUNTRY’S AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION.

       THE PROVINCE IS ALSO UNIQUELY LOCATED, CLOSE TO THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC), ONE OF THE LARGEST AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE MARKETS.  THE HUGE MARKET POTENTIAL THAT THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO OFFERS CAN BE LEVERAGED THROUGH INCREASED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION IN THE PROVINCE.

      WE SHOULD SERIOUSLY PONDER TAPPING INTO THE HUGE MARKET WHICH IS READILY AVAILABLE IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.  

     UNFORTUNATELY, THIS MARKETING SEASON IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR US TO ACTUALISE THIS INTENTION DUE TO REDUCED PRODUCTION.  

   NEVERTHELESS, THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE IS PUTTING IN PLACE INTERVENTIONS AIMED AT ENSURING THAT MAIZE PRODUCTION IS SHIFTED TO THE NORTHERN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.  THIS IS BECAUSE THE NORTHERN PARTS HAVE BEEN RECEIVING SUFFICIENT RAINFALL.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

      AS FOR THE SOUTHERN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, WE SHALL CONTINUE TO PROMOTE CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AMONG OUR FARMERS TO GUARANTEE FOOD SECURITY IN THAT AREA.

      THE FOOD RESERVE AGENCY WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY ITS STRATEGIC ROLE OF ENSURING THAT FARMERS IN THE RURAL AND FAR FLUNG AREAS OF THE COUNTRY ARE PROVIDED WITH A MARKET.  

      AS THE FOOD RESERVE AGENCY PREPARES TO ENTER THE MAIZE MARKETS, THE PRICE OFFERED TO FARMERS SHOULD BE REFLECTIVE OF THE PRODUCTION COSTS INCURRED BY FARMERS.  THERE IS NEED FOR EXTENSIVE CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN THE FOOD RESERVE AGENCY AND THE FARMERS IN DETERMINING THE PRICE.  

     I AM AWARE THAT THE 2019/2020 MARKETING SEASON HAS ALREADY COMMENCED AND MOST PLAYERS HAVE STARTED BUYING PRODUCE.  

     MY MESSAGE TO THOSE INVOLVED IN MAIZE PURCHASES IS THAT, THEY SHOULD BUY THE MAIZE BEARING IN MIND THE COST OF PRODUCING THE CROP.  TIME HAS NOW COME FOR THE FARMER TO BE REWARDED.  LET US NOT EXPLOIT THE FARMERS ANYMORE.

      OUR FARMERS SHOULD NO LONGER BE DISADVANTAGED BY LOW COMMODITY PRICES, IF RURAL POVERTY IS TO BE OVERCOME.  

       GOVERNMENT IS NOT SITTING IDLE, BUT DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO ENSURE THAT FARMERS ARE CORRECTLY REWARDED FOR THEIR SWEAT.  YOU WILL AGREE WITH ME THAT FARMING IS A BUSINESS AND JUST LIKE ANY OTHER, THEREFORE, FARMERS SHOULD MAKE A PROFIT.

      AS WE PREPARE FOR THE NEXT FARMING SEASON, THOSE CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY TO CARRYOUT THE DISTRIBUTION OF FARMING INPUTS UNDER THE FARMER INPUT SUPPORT PROGRAMME SHOULD NOT BE SLUGGISH.  I AM CONFIDENT THAT THE EXERCISE WILL BE EXPEDITED WITHOUT FAIL.  

     IT IS MY SINCERE HOPE THAT IN THE NEXT MARKETING SEASON, DELAYED PAYMENTS TO FARMERS WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST. 

      THE CHALLENGES FACING THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR ARE NOT LIMITED TO CROP PRODUCTION ALONE BUT SPAN TO OTHER SECTORS AS WELL.  

       CURRENTLY, LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION IS HINDERED BY THE LIVESTOCK DISEASES SUCH AS FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE.  THE MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AND LIVESTOCK SHOULD DOUBLE ITS EFFORTS TO ENSURE THAT THE SPREAD OF LIVESTOCK DISEASES IS STOPPED. 



    OUR INVESTMENT IN LIVESTOCK DISEASE CONTROL MECHANISMS SHOULD WITHOUT FAIL BEAR FRUIT.

       A FLOURISHING LIVESTOCK SUB-SECTOR HAS GREAT POTENTIAL TO CONTRIBUTE POSITIVELY TO THE LIVELIHOODS OF THE FARMERS.  

        I THEREFORE, DIRECT THE MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AND LIVESTOCK TO ENGAGE STAKEHOLDERS IN THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY FROM TIME TO TIME, TO MAP OUT STRATEGIES TO BOOST PRODUCTION AND REDUCE THE IMPORTATION OF MEAT AND DAIRY PRODUCTS.

      I NOW WISH TO TURN TO MINING WHICH PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE IN THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ZAMBIAN ECONOMY.  THE SECTOR IS A SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF GOVERNMENT REVENUE AND FORMAL EMPLOYMENT, BOTH DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY.  

    THIS SECTOR REQUIRES CONTINUED INVESTMENT TO SPUR GROWTH WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

     THE PERFORMANCE OF THE MINING SECTOR IN THE RECENT PAST HAS BEEN POSITIVE.  THIS CAN BE ATTESTED TO BY THE INCREASE IN COPPER PRODUCTION BY 7.8 PERCENT FOR THE YEAR 2018.  

        COPPER PRODUCTION INCREASED FROM 799,329 TONNES IN 2017 TO 861,946 TONNES IN 2018, REFLECTING IMPROVED PRODUCTION AT ALMOST ALL THE MINES IN THE COUNTRY.  

        FURTHER, THE PROSPECTS FOR THE MINING SECTOR IN 2019 ALSO CONTINUES TO BE POSITIVE WITH COPPER PRODUCTION POISED TO REACH 890,000 TONNES.  THIS WILL BE DRIVEN BY THE FAVOURABLE COMMODITY PRICES, CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT, EXPANSION AND RECAPITALISATION OF THE MINES.

      HOWEVER, FOR US TO ACHIEVE THE VISION OF A THRIVING MINING SECTOR, GOVERNMENT IS IMPLEMENTING MEASURES TO SEE BOTH LARGE AND SMALL SCALE MINING SECTORS DEVELOP TO THEIR FULLEST POTENTIAL. 

     AS YOU KNOW, SMALL SCALE MINING HAS THE POTENTIAL TO GROW AND CONTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANTLY TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSIFICATION.  BUT, THIS POTENTIAL HAS NOT BEEN FULLY HARNESSED.

     IN ADDITION, GOVERNMENT IS ENCOURAGING SMALL SCALE MINING ENTREPRENEURS TO GO INTO JOINT VENTURES WITH ESTABLISHED COMPANIES TO INCREASE THEIR BUSINESS CAPACITY.  

      FURTHER, WE WILL CONTINUE ENGAGING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO FACILITATE ACCESS TO THE MUCH-NEEDED CAPITAL TO BOOST THE GROWTH OF THE SMALL SCALE MINING SECTOR.  

      IN THIS REGARD, I URGE THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO COME ON BOARD TO HELP PROPEL THE GROWTH OF THE SMALL SCALE MINING SECTOR TO ENABLE IT PLAY ITS RIGHTFUL ROLE IN THE ECONOMY. THIS IS INDEED IN LINE WITH THIS YEAR’S THEME.

     LET ME NOW TURN TO THE TRENDING NARRATIVE ON MINING OPERATIONS PARTICULARLY HERE ON THE COPPERBELT AND IN REFERENCE TO KONKOLA COPPER MINE (KCM). 

     GOVERNMENT WILL ENSURE THAT THIS SITUATION DOES NOT RESULT IN LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT FOR THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE.  UNEMPLOYMENT IS CONTRARY TO OUR POLICY OF JOB AND WEALTH CREATION AS ESPOUSED IN THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND PF MANIFESTO.

     IT IS NOT OUR DESIRE TO SEE ANY WORKER LOSE EMPLOYMENT.  THEREFORE, WE WILL NOT ALLOW ANY MINING COMPANY TO LAY OFF WORKERS UNTIL SUCH A TIME WHEN THE ON-GOING DISCUSSIONS AND CONSULTATIONS REGARDING THE MATTER HAVE BEEN CONCLUDED.  

   GOVERNMENT LOOKS FORWARD TO A WIN-WIN SITUATION WHERE MINING OPERATIONS CAN BE SUSTAINED AND THE JOBS OF THE PEOPLE SAFEGUARDED.

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS;
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

       GOVERNMENT EXPECTS MINING TO TAKE PLACE IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT WITH ZERO FATALITIES.  IN THIS REGARD, GOVERNMENT WILL ENHANCE MONITORING TO ENSURE THAT THE SAFETY OF EMPLOYEES IS PRIORITISED.  

       I WOULD LIKE TO CAUTION THE MINING INDUSTRY THAT YOUR QUEST TO ATTAIN INCREASED PRODUCTION SHOULD NOT BE AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY AND LIFE OF THE MINERS.  MY GOVERNMENT ENVISAGES A MINING INDUSTRY WHICH SAFEGUARDS THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE LIFE OF EMPLOYEES.

      I WISH TO REITERATE THAT MINING HAS THE POTENTIAL TO ENSURE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE COUNTRY FOR MANY YEARS TO COME. 

     MY GOVERNMENT IS RESOLUTE TO IMPROVING REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT AND PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT AND ADOPTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND PROCESSES.  


    MY GOVERNMENT IS KEEN TO COLLABORATE WITH THE MINING INDUSTRY AND OTHER SECTORS TO STIR ECONOMIC GROWTH, SUCCESS AND COMPETITIVENESS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

       ALLOW ME TO CONCLUDE, I WISH TO PAY SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO THE SHOW CHAIRPERSON AND HIS TEAM FOR SUCCESSFULLY ORGANISING THIS EVENT.  

      I URGE ALL EXHIBITORS AND SHOW-GOERS TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE LASTING PARTNERSHIPS WITH VARIOUS INDUSTRY PLAYERS.  

      IT IS NOW MY HONOUR AND PRIVILEGE TO DECLARE THE 2019 COPPERBELT AGRICULTURE, MINING, INDUSTRIAL, NETWORKING AND ENTERPRISE EXPO OFFICIALLY OPEN.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL,

I THANK YOU.

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