Friday, September 18, 2009

Rupiah opens Parliament

Rupiah opens Parliament
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Friday, September 18, 2009 5:26:28 PM

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda today said his government will spend K200 billion on rehabilitating the Chipata-Mfuwe road aimed at boosting tourism in the South Luangwa National Park. And President Banda has opened a liaison office at State House to deal with issues concerning Zambians in the diaspora.

Officially opening the fourth session of the 10th National Assembly in Lusaka, President Banda said the tourism sector continued to rank high on his government’s development agenda as it held great potential in the diversification of the economy.

“The South Luangwa National Park is another priority area for tourism development. However, poor accessibility to and within the area continues to pose a serious constraint to further development of tourism. Government therefore, has this year embarked on rehabilitating the Chipata-Mfuwe road leading to the national park at a cost of K200 billion.

On the diapora, President Banda said he had decided to set up a liaison office at State House to deal with issues related to Zambians based in the diaspora.

“In addition, I have directed the minister of finance to work with the diaspora to facilitate their participation in growing the economy through investment in projects of their choice,” President Banda said.

On corruption, President Banda threatened to fire corrupt government officials.

“Corruption continues to be a major concern to my government and indeed to all development-minded persons and institutions. This is more so given the recent revelations of mismanagement of public resources in some ministries. Fighting corruption remains a top priority of government,” he said.

President Banda said the Anti Corruption policy, he recently launched, would lay emphasis on proactive measures to prevent corruption from occurring and re-affirm the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)’s role as the lead institution in the fight against corruption.

He said the government would establish a Serious Frauds Unit under the ACC to specifically investigate complex corruption cases and an Independent Financial Intelligence Unit to monitor suspicious financial transactions.

“Forensic systems shall be developed and procurement audits shall be undertaken in all major spending ministries, provinces and agencies. I wish to reiterate my earlier warning to all public officers including members of my government that I will not hesitate to take action against those found wanting,” President Banda warned.

On the media, President Banda said the government was considering privatizing some government run and controlled media organisastions.

“I wish to inform this House that my government is considering a policy shift with regard to media ownership. My government is assessing the possibility of considering privatizing some of the state owned media organizations. This decision help in enhancing competition in the media industry,” President Banda said. “Government will continue to provide a conducive environment under which the media functions. I wish to commend those radio and television stations that have conducted themselves in a responsible and ethical manner in performing their duties. It is pleasing to note that while other media organizations have exhibited unethical journalism, the majority have remained professional. I congratulate them.”

More on the President’s address including the full speech will follow soon.



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