Editor's Comment

A new dawn beckons

LUNGU

IT IS said the darkest hour is before dawn. This expression is used to emphasise that things often seem at their worst just before they get better.
The same can be said about Zambia’s economic situation, which to many people is harsh and thus making their lives difficult.
Almost everybody is complaining – the business community, the workers, the man and woman on the street.
The common complaint is that there is no money in the economy. As a result, money is not exchanging hands as it used to in the past.
However, President Edgar Lungu has given hope to the nation through his address to the business community in Kaoma yesterday.
President Lungu said in view of the hard times economically, Government has made very bold decisions which may be painful now but will yield positive results in the not-so-distant future.
One of the reasons why the economy appears hazy is the robust infrastructure programme which is expected to trigger growth in all the pillars of economic development.
Government has focused on infrastructure development, whose benefits are difficult to appreciate during the construction phase but has impact after completion.
Residents in areas where the road network has been improved, and houses, hospitals and universities completed are now reaping from the benefits of such infrastructure because it has made life so much easier.
Government has embarked on austerity measures designed to ease pressure on the treasury. This is not meant to punish anyone. Rather, this is meant to set the ground for a better tomorrow.
For now many workers, especially those in the public service, will feel the pinch of not having the kind of money they used to have, but they should consider this as an investment.
In some instances, the benefits of austerity measures are felt almost immediately, collectively. The money saved can go into improving service delivery.
There is commitment in the 2020 budget to dismantle foreign and domestic arrears.
Of the two, the ones that are more significant are domestic debt arrears, which have impacted businesses negatively as suppliers and vendors are not being paid on time. This has led to business failure, especially for small and medium enterprises.
Dismantling of the domestic debts will help improve liquidity in the economy and stimulate activities in all the economic sectors.
Citizens should, therefore, have faith in the policy statements Government has been making, including the direction it is providing in such matters.
Rather than be dejected, they should make the most of the situation to achieve more with the limited resources.
Citizens should persevere or soldier on. As the saying goes, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’
Success will not come on a silver platter, as may have been the case for some in the past. Everyone has to work hard to contribute to the economic revival of the country. As individuals, family, community and a country as a whole, unity of purpose can get Zambia to that finish line of success.
There is need to increase production everywhere along the chain. Every citizen should work extra hard in playing their part to achieve the success of a robust economy.
This is no time for finger-pointing. All citizens should pull in one direction, which is clearly outlined in the Vision 2030 and the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) launched in 2017 and will run up to 2021.
The 7NDP is appropriately themed “Accelerating development efforts towards Vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind”.
The aspiration is to transform the country from a primary product-dependent economy to a strong, dynamic middle-income industrialised country by 2030.
So despite the economic challenges the country is going through, there is a silver lining around the seemingly dark cloud. In other words, the light at the end of the tunnel is real. How soon the country gets to that light will depend on strict adherence to what has to be done in these tough times.

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