STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA’S road to prosperity has been unveiled through the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), with Government targeting to significantly grow the economy and narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.
President Lungu unveiled the ambitious goal in Lusaka yesterday when he launched the 7NDP through which Government will spend K342.3 billion on projects by end of 2021.
President Lungu, who also stressed the need for Zambians to improve their work attitude, said Government will spend an average of K68.5 billion each year.
“I am concerned that the gap between the poor and the rich remains wide. We must all work together to reduce this unacceptable income disparity,” President Lungu said.
He said cooperating partners will be expected to contribute at least K12.6 billion to ease pressure on the national treasury.
The President launched the document, whose theme is ‘Accelerating Development Efforts towards Vision 2030 Without Leaving Anyone Behind’ at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
“Financing the plan over the period will be premised on the principle of restoring fiscal fitness as guided by the pillars of the 2016 Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme dubbed ‘Zambia Plus’,” President Lungu said.
He said given the natural resource endowment and a youthful population, Zambia has no option but to succeed in implementing the 7NDP.
“Our attitudes and collective mindsets, particularly towards work and participation in national affairs, require urgent transformation. I urge all Zambians from all walks of life to be fully committed to the implementation of our plan,” President Lungu said.
He appealed to Zambia’s cooperating partners, civil society organisations and the private sector to fully support Government in the implementation of the SNDP.
Meanwhile, World Bank country manager Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg said the institution is ready to work with Zambia to achieve a diversified and resilient economy towards becoming a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030.
Ms Ruthenberg said the 7NDP is critical to achieving the goal of 2030 because the plan will determine whether Zambia will become a prosperous middle-income country or not.
“We also see this plan as a race against time. By 2030 Zambia’s population is estimated to double the current population,” she said.
Ms Ruthenberg said the SNDP is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming, who was among several diplomats that witnessed the launch, said the practice of planning is very important for a country to develop.
The launch was witnessed by former President Rupiah Banda, Vice-President Inonge Wina, and Patriotic Front secretary-general Davies Mwila, service chiefs, Cabinet ministers, opposition political party leaders and representatives, permanent secretaries and diplomats, among others.