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By JAMES MUYANWA

levy.jpgPRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa has told Zambians to prepare themselves to participate in global economy as Government increases citizens’ access to investments through the programmes of the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission that kick off this year.

Addressing the nation on ZNBC radio and television on the even of the New Year, President Mwanawasa said that Government would increase the Zambians’ access to investment through the CEEC, which would enable all citizens, including women and the youth to have an opportunity to fully exploit their entrepreneurial abilities.

Dr Mwanawasa said the creation of multi-facility economic zone in Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces was another way of empowering the local people and uplift their standards of living through job creations.

He said Government on its part would continue implementing prudent macro-economic policies to safeguard gains made so far while ensuring the economic activities benefited the people. The focus for this year would, therefore, to grow the economy by at least seven per cent, he said.

Dr Mwanawasa said Government was keen to ensure that Zambians fully participated in the economic affairs at all levels including the international one, and urged the Zambian private sector to actively participate in the procurement and exploration of petroleum.

Dr Mwanawasa said Government had worked hard to overcome the challenges, which had been causing the intermittent disruptions in the supply of petroleum. Government had now introduced a long-term supply system, he said.

“As regards petroleum exploration, I am pleased to note that in the past year, Government has engaged stakeholders in order to finalise proposed amendments to the Petroleum Exploration Act of 1985,” he said.

Dr Mwanawasa said as soon as amendments to the Act were effected the nation would witness exploration activities in some provinces particularly North-Western Province where selected blocks had already been demarcated.

On mining, he said, the sector had made tremendous achievements and attracted huge investments but the onus was now on the Government to ensure that full benefits were derived from the ventures.

He said it was for that reason that this Government had engaged mining companies to re-negotiate the mining development agreements, which he said, would be concluded soon.

“Fair-minded and objective people will agree that so far, our economic, political and social programmes are on the right track. This is evidenced by the positive economic developments. “At the macro-economic level, the economy has continued to perform very well,” he said.

Source: Times Of Zambia