Friday, March 15, 2013

Some diplomats are interfering in our internal affairs - Sata

Some diplomats are interfering in our internal affairs - Sata
By Roy Habaalu
Thu 14 Mar. 2013, 17:30 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says some diplomats accredited to Zambia are interfering in internal affairs. And President Sata said the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.3 per cent compared with 6.8 per cent in 2011. President Sata said a diplomat went to one of the provinces and started asking locals about Zambia's governance system.

"What I would not accept is for some of you, especially male ambassadors and high commissioners, touring the provinces and asking the province about good governance. Please don't go in the provinces and ask the opposition about governance. If you want to know anything about governance, come to my office.

Go to all the ministries, including foreign affairs. They will let you know because you know under your terms of reference, you are very free, you have access to all of us but not like what one of your brothers did last week…went to one of my provinces and asking all political parties saying; 'can you tell us about good governance'," said President Sata when he received credentials from 14 ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to Zambia.

President Sata said his office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were open to any diplomat that wanted to raise concerns with Zambia's governance record. President Sata said where there was unemployment and no investment, there would be no good governance.

"Wherever there is dead economy, where the economy is slow, you don't expect good governance. And when you are asking for youth employment created by the government, the taxpayer is the one who is going to raise the money and taxes are going to create employment for youths," he said.

President Sata appealed to African diplomats in particular to invest in Zambia.

He said diplomats should not only be wearing nice neckties and attending cocktails during national days but bring that which was lacking in the country and attract Zambians to their home countries.

"Don't only rely on investing in the mines. There are so many other areas. Zambia has more natural resources than your countries. Your countries have more rich people who are unemployed and we are looking for those rich people to employ them in Zambia. The only people that are going to bring employment are you. Bring Canadian investors; Canadians have never invested in Zambia. We have never seen a Canadian. At least we have seen people from Cyprus and Bangladesh. You are no longer interested in Zambia but please go back and tell your people, we have more resources, we have more land, we have more space than in your country," he said.

Diplomats that presented their credentials were from Cuba - Caridad Perez Gonzalez, Republic of Ireland - Finbar O'brien, Prof Ruthle Rono of Kenya, Kgoshi Piet Mathebe of South Africa, Jo Yong Man from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Bela Laszlo of the Republic of Hungary, Touhid Hossain from Bangladesh and Richard Stuart Mann from New Zealand.

Others were Dan Shaham-Ben Hayun from Israel, Koang Tutlam Dung from Ethiopia, Christos Salamanis from Greece, Koenraad Adam from Belgium, Agis Loizou from Cyprus and Alexandre Leveque from Canada.

Meanwhile President Sata said there had been an improvement in real GDP per capita, which rose to an estimated US$1,500.0 in 2012 from US$1,463.0 the previous year.

According to a statement issued by his special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah, President Sata said at the end of December 2012, foreign reserves rose to US$3.215 billion compared to US$2.322 billion as at end-December 2011, while foreign investment pledged for 2012 was US$10.089 billion."

The President said though macro-economic stability and appreciable economic growth had been achieved over the recent past, the main task that still remained was that of meeting the basic needs of Zambians as poverty levels and unemployment remained a challenge.

"We can confirm that since the PF government assumed office, approximately 195,744 jobs have been created as follows: central government 9,716; local government 5,257; private sector 24,098; plus another 5,510 jobs were actualised through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) 2011/2012 pledged investment as well as 5,858 new jobs have been approved for recruitment in the newly created districts. Furthermore jobs created by the parastatals totaled 29,305 while the jobs created in arts were 116,000," he said.

The President said the growth in GDP reflects the government's pro-growth policies and maintenance of macroeconomic stability.

He futher said that the government would continue to lower costs in the economy, especially as these costs contributed towards limiting employment growth as well as raising costs for poor households.



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