LACK of financial resources or expertise is usually the lame duck for failure to develop certain sectors or regions.
In some of Zambia’s cases, however, lack of execution of projects has nothing to do with either lack of expertise or finances.
It has everything to do with red tape. How else can we explain failure to execute a project which has already been funded and expertise is in abundance?
This is why President Lungu has demanded that red tape should not frustrate implementation of a US$50 million fisheries project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Every cog is in place and all that remains is to roll out the project. It would be a great disservice to the country for the project to stall because one or two matters are yet to be put in place or resolved.
This does not mean that there should be illegal shortcuts in the implementation of the project. Rather, the point is that decision-makers have no reason to delay earning their money. Let them make the decision decisively as quickly as possible.
There have been instances of projects stalling because some decision-makers are undecided or are not meeting to formalise straightforward matters. At times, they would keep meeting without concluding matters on the table.
So while such decision-makers would be getting their salaries or allowances, hundreds, if not thousands, of Zambians would not be benefitting from resources availed to help improve their standards of living.
Let this fish project set the standard and tone for decision-making and project implementation.
With the money in the kitty, project areas identified, and certainly scores of Zambians keen to be part of a success story, the results should start showing sooner rather than in an unknown future.
For decades, Zambia has been said, and rightly so, to be a country with great economic potential. Surely, this is a fact that should have long changed to ‘Zambia potential is paying off’.
The major challenge Zambia has had in turning potential to reward, is poor implementation and at times, this has been as a result of red tape, which tests investors’ patience and fertilises underhand decisions.
The fish farming sector has had ‘great potential’ for decades, but was insignificantly tapped partly because of the misbelief that the massive water bodies Zambia has could never, ever be depleted of God-given good.
Of course that was a misplaced thought and today, not only is Zambia facing the consequences of depleting stocks, but also lost out on an opportunity to earn the much-needed foreign exchange through exports.
That opportunity has been rekindled through this project and with lessons of the past, hopefully well learnt, and with red tape significantly cut, the fish industry in Zambia should see a boom for the good of all.
As it were, the fish project will benefit about 12,000 fish farmers and entrepreneurs as well as 50,000 auxiliary businesses.
This is obviously a multi-billion dollar industry and it could make a whole lot of positive difference to Zambia.