CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu yesterday announced a robust three-year recovery programme for Copperbelt aimed at mitigating the loss of employment by over 3,000 miners and creating over 10,000 new jobs.
And the President has directed the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to work with other government organs to quickly clear land where retrenched miners who want to engage in agriculture will be resettled.
The Copperbelt development projects will cost a total of US$1.3 billion (K16 billion).
President Lungu said the government will soon implement the three multi-million dollar capital projects in the roads, aviation and water and sanitation sectors.
He was speaking at State House in Lusaka during his maiden press conference attended by local and foreign journalists and members of the diplomatic corps.
The three projects are the US$397 million Ndola International Airport, C-400 Copperbelt Township Roads which will cost US$492 million and the US$400 million Kafubu Water Reticulation System.
â€œThe three projects have a total value of US$1.3 billion or K16 billion over a period of three years [2016-2018],â€ President Lungu said.
He directed Ministry of Works and Supply permanent secretary Eddie Chomba to ensure that the construction of the Ndola International Airport and the works on the 400 kilometres of township roads in the province begin in the first quarter of 2016 without fail.
President Lungu also directed the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to ensure the Kafubu Water Project begins within the same period without fail.
â€œI further direct the respective implementing agencies to ensure that 20 percent of the above works worth US$260 million [K3.2 billion] are given to local contractors and suppliers based on the Copperbelt in order to mitigate the impact of the recent job losses in the minesâ€¦,â€ he said.
The President said the job losses have been caused by the reduced mine activity as a result of the fall in global copper price.
â€œThe implementation of these measures will create around 10,000 jobs from these three major contracts for a period of three years. During this period there will be skills transfer and capacity building in infrastructure construction projects other than those related to mining,â€ he said.
â€œI am directing that priority in the recruitment of workers is given to the Copperbelt-based residents.â€
And the President has directed the ZNS to work with other government organs to quickly clear land where retrenched miners who want to engage in agriculture will be resettled.
He said former miners who are interested in pursuing agriculture as a source of livelihood will be given land to be identified by the government, which will be cleared by ZNS.
CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka