Use opportunity wisely

The news of the re-opening of schools as well as bars and night clubs has been well received with the biggest cheers coming from those that have missed the camaraderie of taking drinks of their choice in public places.
As this news is being digested, it must be underscored yet again – as President Edgar Lungu did yesterday – that adherence to health guidelines will determine whether this will be so for a long time or will be curtailed to tighter restrictions again.
Bars, nightclubs, taverns, and schools were closed in March as part of measures to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
During the closure, the economy suffered as bar-owners lost business while hundreds, if not thousands, of workers lost their source of income.
By extension, the families of bar-owners, workers, including owners of private schools and teachers were also exposed to hardships.
While parents initially welcomed the closure of schools, colleges and universities, they got concerned that the prolonged closure disturbed academic calendars, which essentially led the country to a backlog of academic programmes, uncertain progression paths and generally added pressure on academic resources.
President Lungu’s pronouncement to open bars and schools yesterday is based on advice of experts after the assessment of the situation.
The opening of bars and learning institutions automatically translates into the resumption of income streams for owners of bars and academic establishments and their employees, who look after themselves and their families.
For learning institutions, there will also be some savings on guardians’ resources that had been directed at accessing alternative learning processes for their charges such as procurement of data and tuitions.
Resumption of learning activities will curtail vices and ill-effects that may have started developing among bored pupils and students such as deviant behaviour, depression and obesity due to overeating and inactivity.
Some employers and employees pay taxes which benefit the treasury to help Government fulfil its obligations of paying civil servants, public service workers, fund grant-aided institutions such as universities and colleges and undertake service provision.
Revenue that the bars, night clubs and schools generate pays taxes, suppliers, workers and provides livelihoods for owners.
Income earned from the activities of the establishments reduces the number of those dependent on social safety nets, whether formal or informal.
Money saved from sustaining the vulnerable shall be freed up for investment thereby growing the national economy.
Government’s bold decision to open bars and learning institutions is part of the economic resilience espoused by President Lungu yesterday.
It is part of the theme ‘Dedication, Resilience and Innovation: Pursuing Economic Recovery for the Zambia We Want’.
Opening bars and learning institutions is part of economic recovery.
The mere fact that the businesses and employees shall start earning an income increases the happiness index.
A happier population is healthier and a healthier population is more productive and less ill, which spells out good news to national productivity and health delivery systems.
Owners of bars, bar-tenders, patrons and school authorities should show appreciation to Government for the gesture to open these economic sectors by putting in place precautions as guided by health authorities.
There should be strict adherence to the public health guidelines to protect bar-tenders and patrons against COVID-19.
President Lungu was very categorical during the official opening of the Fifth Session of the 12th National Assembly that opening of bars is a pilot exercise.