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Infrastructure vital for growth

INFRASTRUCTURE is an essential driver of competitiveness which is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of any economy. This entails that infrastructure development is key for any country to attain national growth and income distribution. As such, developing infrastructure is one of Government’s priority areas.
The country has basic reliable infrastructure in terms of; airports, road networks, railway lines, energy generation and transmission installations and telecommunication infrastructure.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba notes that Government will continue focusing on development of infrastructure and human capacities as well as reducing poverty and inequality on a sustainable basis to attain its development objectives in the Sixth National Development Plan.
He emphasises that Government will focus on ensuring that growth is inclusive and pro-poor so that the benefits of a stable macro-economic environment, positive economic growth and single digit inflation bring about improved standards of living.
The green paper on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2015-2017 and the 2015 budget have been issued as Government’s on-going commitment to engage with all stakeholders on Zambia’s development agenda.
Mr Yamba points out that the green paper is being issued at a time the Sixth National Development Plan has been revised to better ensure that economic growth is more inclusive, especially for those in the rural areas.
Inclusive development will be achieved by programmes that significantly increase productivity in the economy, contribute to higher and inclusive economic growth, and promote employment and development in rural areas.
Zambia is on the right track as it will build on the favourable macro-economic performance recorded over the last five years, which was evidenced by high economic growth rates, attainment of single digit inflation and positive trade balances.
For this to be achieved, the country needs to upgrade its transportation infrastructure. Zambia being a land locked country lies in the centre of the southern Africa region and to this effect, heavily relies on her neighbours for vital routes to various import and export destinations.
On transport infrastructure, Government seeks to address these challenges and is focusing on construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of infrastructure.
Government has also embarked on the Link Zambia 8000 project aimed at rehabilitating and constructing the road network. The aim is to construct efficient road network and international highways linking Zambia to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia.
Other aspects of infrastructure development that are on top of Government’s agenda include improvement of the railway network to develop the surface transport sector.
The development of rail routes is important for facilitating smooth access to the outside world and overall boosting of trade in the sub-region and making Zambia competitive for doing business.
Housing and real estate infrastructure is also being developed due to the shortage of accommodation in many urban areas.
The education and the health sectors have also not been left out as training institutions and health centres are being constructed across the country.
The appeal urging all stakeholders to embrace Government’s commitment to consultative development by studying the green paper and providing comments that will help Government to deliver sustainable development should be taken seriously for the country to achieve the much needed economic growth.