Friday, October 18, 2013

Govt mulls increasing rural infrastructure funding
By Joseph Mwenda in New York
Fri 27 Sep. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says the PF government will consider increasing budgetary allocation towards infrastructure development to foster rural maturation. And President Sata says 80 per cent of Zambians living in poverty are women and children.

The President said this in New York on Wednesday when he addressed other Heads of State at the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on the follow-up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

"In line with the MDG Africa report for 2013, our framework enhances efforts to reduce inequality by pursuing inclusive growth strategies. Some of the interventions identified in the framework include, the promotion of rural development through increased budgetary allocations to infrastructure development and maintenance," President Sata said.

He said his government also attached priority to the promotion of labour-intensive methods for community projects such as roads.
The President further said government had been implementing a social cash transfer programme and a public welfare scheme.

"We are implementing this as part of reducing poverty and hunger. The targeting criteria for the two programmes are based on poverty and vulnerability," he said.

And President Sata said Zambia recognises that women and youth empowerment was the quickest way of reducing poverty.

"It is also important to note that despite robust economic growth in the recent years, the broad characteristic of the Zambian poverty profile is that women continue to face severe consequences. Statistics show that 80 per cent of people living in poverty are women and children," he said.

During the same roundtable meeting, President Sata highlighted the scores made by Zambia in attaining MDGs.

"Notable achievements include access to education and reducing child malnutrition. Progress has been made in reducing infant mortality, although much still remains to be done," he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the President held private talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the New York Palace Hotel.

Special assistant to the President for press and public relations George Chellah told journalists after the meeting that the two Heads of State discussed a range of issues affecting their countries.

"During the meeting, the Sri Lankan President officially invited President Sata to the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of State and government meeting," said Chellah.

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