HH asks PSs, ministers to pull in one direction
By Kombe Chimpinde Mataka
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says he has noted a trend where permanent secretaries are working in isolation from ministers.
He also observed that public tenders are still being issued at high cost.
Swearing in mines permanent secretary Moya Lumamba, Himba Cheelo at energy and commerce’s John Mulongoti at State House yesterday, President Hichilema said he wanted to see permanent secretaries and ministers work as a team as opposed to pulling in different directions.
“I am noticing a trend where permanent secretaries are pulling in one direction and ministers in another direction. There is no way business can work like that. We have to work as a team. That is the way work is done,” he said.
President Hichilema said the roles of the three permanent secretaries were clear because the trio was recommended and promoted from the ministries where it served.
He noted rampant cases of corruption in the Ministry of Mines particularly the cadastre department.
He said he wanted to see licences going to Zambians as much as possible but in a legal way.
“We want to end illegal mining,” President Hichilema said. “You have to unlock assets that are sitting there at Mopani, KCM and many others quickly so that we can provide economic transformation for jobs that we have articulated in the 8th National Development Plan,” President Hichilema said.
He told Cheelo to assemble a team that would unlock the energy sector and not to go and make friends, with his main concern on the sluggish development of the Kalungushi Dam.
“You are going to deliver the vision of the UPND,” he said.
President Hichilema expressed disappointment that controlling officers were allowing tenders to be issued a high price.
And speaking when he swore in the US, Swedish and Finish ambassadors Michael Gonzales, Johan Hollenborg and Saana Helinen, President Hichilema called on the envoys to help get Zambia’s debt restructured by creditors through the G20 Common Framework.
“As we proceed to the content of the rest of the discussions we ask for more support,” he said.
President Hichilema said he wanted the government to continue with its relationship with US following three years without an ambassador at its mission in Zambia.
He said the US was a valued partner of Zambia and a supporter of various development programmes.
Ambassador Gonzales said he looked to push reforms support for Zambia to assist the government’s reform programmes.
Ambassador Hollenborg said Sweden welcomed the reforms that President Hichilema’s government has introduced in particular those aimed at strengthening democracy and human rights such as improved freedom of the media, review of the public order Act, the adoption of the children’s code bill, the intention to abolish the death penalty, and the fight against corruption.
“Your efforts are noted also internationally. In short I am happy to see that Zambia is on the right track,” Ambassador Hollenborg said.
He said Sweden welcomed the recent IMF support programme, which he said was of paromount importance.
“Swedish development cooperation in Zambia is aligned with the 8th National Development plan,” he said.
Ambassador Hollenborg said the relationship between Zambia and Sweden was excellent.
Finnish Ambassador Helinen said he welcomed Zambia’s ambition to make itself a peacemaker in the region and the world.
Ambassador Helinen said she was happy to be in Zambia at a time the atmosphere was positive.