MAPALO LUPUPA, Chinsali
PRESIDENT Lungu is today expected to commission the 300 hectare ZAFFICO forest plantation in Shiwangâ€™andu, Muchinga Province permanent secretary Bright Nundwe has said.
Mr Nundwe said in an interview yesterday that the forest plantation, which will be the biggest in the country, is in line with Governmentâ€™s economic diversification campaign, from predominantly mining to agriculture production as Zambiaâ€™s economic mainstay.
He said President Lungu is determined to diversify the countryâ€™sÂ economy, and timber production is one of the activities Zambia will invest in.
â€œThere is need to ensure that the economy diversifies away from mining and develop other key sectors with significant potential to equally contribute immensely to economic development,â€ Mr Nundwe said.
He said this forest plantation in Muchinga will give the region an economic boost because it will culminate into industrialisation of the region through backward and forward linkages that the investment will trigger.
Mr Nundwe said the region has no single industry, so Government is in a hurry to ensure a balanced approach to development in all the districts.
â€œA strong economy is one that is as widely diversified as possible to be able to absorb shocks when one sector is under pressure from different factors that may arise from time to time,â€ he said.
He said the people of Shiwangâ€™andu are happy with the establishment of the forest plantation as it will help create an enabling environment to support economic growth across all sectors of the economy.
Mr Nundwe said it is, however, undeniable that mining is currently the core sector of the economy and contributes significantly to Governmentâ€™s revenue and foreign exchange earnings.
He said mining is, however, a diminishing activity that will not deliver earnings forever.
The permanent secretary said after launching the forest plantation, President Lungu will leave for Kasama to commission the Pensulo-Kasama power transmission line.
And Northern Province permanent secretary Hlobotha Nkunika confirmed that the President is expected in Kasama today to launch the power line, HENRY SINYANGWE reports in Kasama.
Mr Nkunika said the head of State is also expected to meet chiefs and Patriotic Front officials
â€œIn the evening, he has private meetings with the chiefs and party officials and will travel back to Lusaka on Wednesday,â€ he said.
MAPALO LUPUPA, Chinsali