Speaking during his national address today, President Edgar Lungu said his government is working out measures that will ensure the economy survives the devastating effects that COVID-19 has had on the economy, especially the youth.
“As government, we have got things to do and work to do. As we direct our efforts to resuscitate our economy, amidst covid-19, we should equally apply our efforts to revamping the social sectors that include skills training schools and trades centres. I direct the Minister of Youth, and Sport to find opportunities as enshrined in the seventh national development plan for the youth to venture into skills training and other entrepreneurship ventures. The youth should take advantage of the opportunities available and those that my government has facilitated. I expect the ministry of youth and sport to provide leadership in a multisectoral manner as they guide the youth to become a positive demographic dividend in our economy amidst covid-19,” President Lungu said.
“We have got work to do. As a way of starting this work that we must all be engaged into, i have since approved a k30 million youth empowerment scheme targeting artistes countrywide to be launched in Lusaka soon. The national arts council under the ministry of tourism and arts will implement this programme. I direct the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, and the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to facilitate linkage for the youth to benefit from the development of industrial yards through the skills development and entrepreneurship project supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB). Furthermore, government is facilitating youth access to other empowerment programmes under the CEEC such as the Cassava Value Chain programme and the aquaculture value chain initiative.”
He further announced that the government has set aside US$29 million for the implementation of the Aquaculture Seed Fund under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project. The project is aimed at enhancing fish production and is earmarked to benefit more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, including youth and women,” President Lungu said.
“Therefore, I implore the Zambian youth to take keen interest in participating and profiting from different empowerment initiatives my government is putting in place, instead of protesting in the bush and taking pride in how many views of their protests where seen on social media. The Zambian youth I long to see is one that is taking the initiative like that young man of Chunga dumpsite waste management association who transformed trash into cash and now has built a house, employs other youth, and is organising other youth into a cooperative. Or Chilekwa Mwamba who has formed a cooperative with his young friends and today the organisation has spread across the country.”
Meanwhile, the Head of State said the re-opening of examination classes is already giving government vital information which will be taken into account as resumption of the remaining classes in schools, colleges and universities is being considered.
“Consultations with key stakeholders are currently underway on the reopening of the remaining classes, colleges and universities bearing in mind the cold season as guided by the who, CDC through the ministry of health. The nation will be informed the next course of action once the consultations are concluded,” President Lungu said.