By SIMON MUNTEMBA
GOVERNMENT will introduce mechanism to fast-tract recovery of stolen assets and prosecution of corruption cases, President Hakainde Hichilema said yesterday.
The President said specialised fast-track stolen assets recovery mechanisms and courts for corruption and economic crimes would be introduced in the fight against corruption.
President Hichilema said his regime would wage war on corruption and not spare any expense to ensure that perpetrators were made to account for their impropriety.
He said this during the official opening of the National Assembly under the theme, “Creating a united, prosperous and equitable Zambia: restoring economic growth and safeguarding livelihoods.”
Mr Hichilema said to enhance transparency and accountability in the national affairs, his administration would review the policy and legal framework for oversight institutions to enable them to effectively fight economic crimes.
He also said the UPND government would enact legislation on ethics and integrity for improved transparency and accountability.
President Hichilema explained that his administration which had a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in all its forms would increase funding and enhance operational independence of oversight institutions.
He said there would be no sacred cows in the fight, and would increase the benefits of being honest and the cost of being corrupt.
Meanwhile, Mr Hichilema has pledged to transform Zambia into a viable economy that would benefit all citizens.
Mr Hichilema said rebuilding Zambia’s economy was top on his Government agenda.
He said economic transformation would be the over-arching framework that would bring together interventions in the various sectors of the economy to create jobs and reduce poverty.
President Hichilema said his vision was to have a united and prosperous country that provided equal opportunities for all.
He however shied away from re-affirming free education which he had promised during the campaign period, instead pledging that his administration will provide quality and equitable access to education for all.
President Hichilema also pledged to ensure that the girl-child has equal opportunity to access education by addressing the challenges faced by female learners.
Mr Hichilema said his administration would also reform the higher education loan and bursary scheme.
“The reform is aimed at ensuring that learners who have potential to excel, especially the girl-child, but are unable to afford to pay school or university fees are supported. This will be a departure from the prevailing situation where well to do and undeserving students are the ones benefitting,” he said.
The President said under the new system, every deserving student will be offered an opportunity to education, even when they may be from low financial status.
President Hichilema said Government would implement policy measures to promote economic transformation, particularly in job rich sectors of agriculture, tourism, energy, tourism, and commerce.
He said under economic transformation and job creation, Government would implement a comprehensive agricultural transformation programme with the aim of making the sector a viable commercial undertaking.
He explained that the proposed new Ministry of Technology and Science would spur development in the cross-cutting sector and catalyse economic growth.
President Hichilema also said he was determined to meet the basic needs of every Zambian by creating a conducive environment for them to become prosperous.
He said his regime would implement policies to address the fiscal deficit while ensuring that confidence was restored in the markets.
To improve agricultural production and productivity, he said, Government would ensure access to affordable agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides.
The President explained that this will be achieved through the re-designing of the farmer input support programme to transform it into a more cost-effective and sustainable intervention.
He said his administration would partner with the private sector and establish agro input manufacturing industries to produce the inputs for farmers.
President Hichilema said to promote and increase livestock production, Government would focus on stocking and restocking, artificial insemination as well as enhanced disease surveillance and control.
He also said he would exercise his duties with diligence in the interest of all Zambians and ensure society was one in which individuals live with dignity and pride.