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Lungu directs formation of think tank

VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu has directed Vice-President Inonge Wina to set up an inter-ministerial council to coordinate and facilitate trade and investment into Zambia.
Ms Wina will be in charge of the inter-ministerial council which will comprise ministries of Lands, Finance, Development Planning, Local Government, Tourism and Home Affairs.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe announced this at State House yesterday shortly after presenting her ministry’s quarterly report to President Lungu.
Ms Mwanakatwe said trade and investment are key drivers of the economy and that the two areas should be given adequate attention.
“We discussed that we need to facilitate domestic trade and investment as well as trade from Zambia to neighbouring countries in a much smoother and efficient manner,” she said.
President Lungu advised her ministry on the need to ensure that when investment is brought into the country, it gets actualised in terms of value and job creation.
“We need to continue with investment promotion so that Zambia becomes a very attractive destination for investment,” she said.
“We also talked about coordination of investment through establishment of an inter-ministerial council that is going to ensure that if the country has huge investments coming, relevant ministries come into play. For example, if the investment has something to do with land, the Ministry of Lands comes into play.”
President Lungu also encouraged the participation of all Zambians in growing the economy through utilisation of their skills and expertise.
The President further urged the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to create economic zones at border posts such as Kasumbalesa, Livingstone and Nakonde to facilitate trade.
President Lungu said the ministry should enhance operations of trade missions abroad so that they can participate in the promotion of trade and investment in Zambia.
And President Lungu has directed the Ministry of Development Planning to fully implement the Performance Management System (PMS) in the public service.
Minister of Development Planning Lucky Mulusa said after presenting his report to President Lungu that the implementation of PMS will minimise unnecessary dismissals of civil servants.
“We also highlighted the projects being undertaken under the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation. These include the Chipata, Petauke, Serenje railway project as well as the rehabilitation of  TAZARA,” Mr Mulusa said.
He said his ministry is also rolling out the installation of milling plants in every province in addition to the 2,000 plants under the Zambia Cooperative Federation.
And President Lungu has directed Minister of Finance Felix Mutati to come up with new reforms that will help maximise revenue collection.
Mr Mutati said this shortly after presenting his ministry’s report to the President.
The minister said the Zambia Revenue Authority is coming up with measures in addressing some of the reforms including the implementation of the TPIN.
President Lungu also urged Mr Mutati to significantly reduce external borrowing.

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