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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has addressed the third session of 13th National Assembly through a message whose message was centred on unity of purpose, economic development, addressing the High cost of living, plus the fight against poverty and corruption.

With the current prevailing high cost of living, Mr Hichilema had to touch on this issue, and was quick to acknowledge the status quo with an assurance that his administration is addressing the matter.

The President, who is an economist, said Government is aware about the high price of mealie meal and petroleum products but various interventions are being put in place to address the situation.

“We are doing everything possible to stabilize the price of our staple commodity food called mealie meal,” Mr Hichilema said.

“The road maybe bumpy but we are on course,” he said, adding “We are working hard to stabilise the exchange rate”.

“We are concerned about this situion and are doing everything possible to stabilise the price of mealie. We are putting in place measures to cushion the most vulnerable”.

Mr Hichilema said government will inject resources in the farming sector and consequently help reduce the cost of production and consequently, mealie meal prices.

 

And in an act of magnanimity, The President also acknowledged that the New Dawn administration is “slow” but that it can do more, regards implementation of its development agenda.

 

“As UPND New Dawn, we are slow, all sectors involved here, we can do more,” Mr Hichilema said.

 

He also notes that the two years of being in office is not a straight forward journey but all that the party envisioned will be fulfilled.

 

The President further thanked Zambians for the two years that have supported the UPND in officer as it seeks to implement campaign promises.

 

And the head of State, as expected, was quick to emphacise his administration’s unapologetic resolve to strongly fight corruption and recover stolen assets even if others want to frustrate the agenda.

 

The President’s sentiments come at time when some sections of the opposition have deemed the fight against corruption as being targeted at political opponents from the previous regime.

 

But Mr Hichilema told the National Assembly that the New Dawn stands strong in the fight against corruption.

 

“We stand strong in the fight against corruption, no matter what it takes, we stand strong in the fight against corruption, no matter the delays, no matter the frustrations, eyes on the ball,” he said.

 

“Despite accusing fingers, wrongly, despite accusations, despite allegations, it does not matter, we stay the course on the fight against corruption. Government in totality should work together to amend the pieces of legislation to allow us to reach the assets quickly,” Mr Hichilema said.

 

He said the efforts to recover stolen assets have been heightened and that there should not no sympathy for the corrupt and “no sacred cows”

 

“Investigations on cases of corruption and recovery of stolen assets have been intensified, we have done the hoemwork now, we have gone round the world, we have beck marked, we have seen how took so long for other countries, how its frustrating to us, we are unlocking that area and you will see speed, we must restore assets to the true owners,” Mr Hichilema said.

 

The President also said there is need to teach Zambians that “what belongs to people is for the people. What is private is for the private”.

 

On issuses of health, the President appealed to private sector to consider venturing in manufacturing of drugs to ensure adequate supply for a health citizenry.

 

Mr Hichilema also said government will ensure that all health facilities have a maternity annex to prevent maternal deaths.

 

And the President commended Members of Parliament for ensuring enactment of the NAPSA partial withdrawal of benefits Act becomes law.

 

Mr Hichilema said so far, K8. 1billion was paid to beneficiaries who accessed 20 percent of their retirement benefits and that the money will help in growing the economy through increased money circulation.

And the President directed the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure that there is law for Members of Parliament should be part of council meetings like it was in the past.

Mr Hichilema said MPs should be part of decision making at local level so that they can offer well informed debates in Parliament.

“They need to be part of the full council,” he said.

 

On intervals in his address, the President stressed the need for unity of purpose among MPs and the need to avoid politicizing matters of national concern such as health and sanitation.

 

“By partisan motions should receive support from all of us,” Mr Hichilema who briefly chatted with leader of the opposition in Parliament Brian Mundubile when leaving the House, said.

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