Editor's Comment

Prioritise construction

WESTERN Province has seen unprecedented infrastructure development, which includes the construction of the Sioma Bridge across the Zambezi River and the Mongu-Kalabo Road across the Zambezi plains. Above, the picture combo shows the Sioma Bridge (left) and the Lubosi Imwiko Bridge on the Mongu-Kalabo Road. President Lungu has commissioned the two projects. PICTURES: EDDIE MWANALEZA/STATE HOUSE

WHEN the Patriotic Front (PF) was ushered into office in 2011, its leadership made a bold decision to overcome the country’s backlog of underdevelopment by embarking on a robust infrastructure development, including inheriting and finishing off projects started by the immediate past governing Movement for Multi-party Democracy.
Five years on, the decision has paid off as the benefits of a land-linked country are beginning to show.
The proof is in projects like the Link Zambia 8000, a road construction and rehabilitation project in which an estimated 2,290kms of roads was constructed in the first phase.
Pave Zambia is another project that is evidence of the benefits of focusing on such infrastructure development. In this project Government constructed 2,000kms of urban roads in all the 10 provinces using segmented paving blocks.
There has also been the L400 project and the C400 – the construction and rehabilitation of 400kms of roads in Lusaka and another 400kms in the Copperbelt Province.
There has also been extensive construction of bridges across the country including the marvel of the Western Province – Mongu to Kalabo road across the Zambezi plains.
These and other projects signalled the beginning of the revolution to modernise Zambia and convert it into a complete land-linked country.
Good roads trigger economic growth because virtually every other sector relies on such infrastructure to start, grow and be sustained.
Government also created new districts, built dams, hospitals, schools, dams, police stations, institutions of higher learning, and institutional houses.
This has significantly contributed to poverty reduction in the areas where the projects were undertaken as jobs were created and services were brought to the doorsteps of more citizens.
Although some armchair critics choose to downplay the importance of these developments such as a good read network, they too are already benefiting from these projects. They claim that people will not eat roads and in the same breath they get into businesses like transportation using the same roads.
They turn a blind eye to the benefits of farmers being able to receive agricultural inputs in good time and the ease with which they now take their produce to markets.
Such cynics could be ignored but they are a risk to a very good cause because they could poison the thinking of some citizens. So, they must be constantly told to have the interests of the country and its people.
We commend those that add value to this infrastructure development cause, which should be a collective effort.
Organisations in point include the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) and the Southern Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) which have called on Government to consider allocating more money for infrastructural development in the 2017 national budget.
They say, and correctly so, that investment in infrastructure has a high rate of economic returns.
We agree with the CSPR and SACCORD that there should be more funding for infrastructural development. We have no doubt that this is the direction Government will take as it is in line with the governing party’s manifesto.
Given the great strides made in the last five years, it can be expected that even more will be done in the next five years right across the country for the good of all citizens.

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