…poverty reduction & job creation main focus

By Annie Zulu

GOVERNMENT will focus on poverty reduction and job creation as part of its drive to change the face of Zambia as it implements structural interventions anchored on the five pillars of the Seventh National Development Plan.

The policy and structural interventions to be undertaken in 2018 will be aligned to the five pillars of the 7thNDP’s adopted interpreted multi sectoral approach to development, Finance Minister Felix Mutati has said.

Mr Mutati cited the five pillars as economic diversification and job creation, poverty and vulnerability reduction, reducing development inequalities, enhancing human development and creating a conducive governance environment for a diversified and inclusive economy.

The Minister said this when he presented the 2018 national budget in Parliament yesterday.

He noted that there was need to create a supportive environment for effective implementation of the plan.

“This will be done by creating a stable macroeconomic environment and fiscal space, while consolidating policy and structural reforms as outlined in the Economic Stabilisation and Growth programme,” Mr Mutati said.

He reiterated the need to diversify the economy to labour intensive sectors such as agriculture and tourism.

Mr Mutati observed that reliance on the mining sector had exposed the economy to volatility arising from external shocks.

And Mr Mutati has assured that Government remains resolute to reducing poverty and vulnerability among Zambians.

He said Government would continue to implement policies, programmes and initiatives aimed at protecting and empowering the vulnerable.

Mr Mutati also said Government was concerned with developmental inequalities that existed between rural and urban areas in terms of inadequate social service delivery, poor infrastructure and financial exclusion among others.

He said Government will in 2018 prioritise the increased access to social service and completion of ongoing education, health and water and sanitation infrastructure in rural areas.

He also stated that Government would continue to enhance human development.

Mr Mutati observed that human development played a critical role in promoting inclusive growth and laying a foundation for future prosperity.

“The Seventh National Development Plan identifies the three key components of human development namely health, education and skills development and improved access to water supply and sanitation,” Mr Mutati said.

He also assured that Government would endevour to create a conducive governance environment for a diversified and inclusive economy.

Mr Mutati said Government would continue its reforms agenda in fiscal, land administration and management, debt management and in monetary and financial sector.

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