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President Hakainde Hichilema yesterday addressed delegates at the 2nd Private Sector Day during the Public Private Dialogue Forum (PPDF) at Ciela Resort in Chongwe. Here are the key highlights:

– President Hichilema noted that, before debt restructuring, the country was projected to pay US$7.5 billion in ten years. After restructuring, the revised amount is now US$750 million over the same period.

– During a recent meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to co-chair Zambian debt restructuring alongside China.

– Government is committed to redirecting funds from wasteful expenditure to the Agriculture Credit Window, to be managed by the private sector (banks).

– Adequate financing will be created for agriculture and other sectors.

– President Hichilema urged Farmers Union president Javis Zimba to increase production per hectare as Government mobilises resources.

– The President suggested involving professionals from the private sector in government transactions, including projects.

– Private sector entities should not fear engaging foreign specialists, as their database is being developed for periodic engagement.

– Nickel production will soon be introduced in the country, transforming the mining sector.

– PPDF and PDU should complement government efforts in attracting mining investments.

– The China trip revitalised Shaft 28 in Luanshya, creating more jobs.

– Government encourages positive interactions between old and new businesses.

– Foreign investors should engage local partners in running their businesses.

– PPDF and PDU should work on lowering capital and business costs as Government aims to make the country a 24-hour economy.

– PPDF should incorporate technical assistance without considering skin color, and race should not be an issue.

– Government is finding a lasting solution to theft without damaging businesses post the removal of roadblocks.

– The President assured that PPDF is here to stay.

– Zambia, as the largest producer of emerald globally, faces challenges in accessing jewels for Zambian jewelry, necessitating a resolution.

– 20% of mining materials must be available for local value manufacturers.

– The President commended local businesses for supporting PPDF and PDU.

– He encouraged businesses to engage in positive discussions to unlock rigidities in the country.

– President Hichilema emphasised the need to accelerate agriculture production and processing.

– Government is proud of Zambia’s status as the largest emerald producer and urges the private sector to explore production opportunities and value addition.

– PPDF should be all-inclusive in doing business, promoting domestic transactions, and reducing pressure on foreign exchange demand.

– Private sector entities should demand that Government stops importing uniforms for Soldiers, Nurses, and police officers.

– The President assured that Government will practice positive discrimination by buying local products, such as Compound D fertilizer, as long as the quality and pricing are satisfactory.

– All pharmaceutical procurement must be done locally going forward.

– PPDF, PDU, and all government wings must be ambitious in setting targets.

– Efforts should focus on addressing illegal imports that distort the Zambian economy.

– Everyone should work towards producing for export and implementing measures to boost foreign exchange earnings.

– Government is addressing visa-related issues to attract more tourist investment.

– Relevant authorities should work on eliminating immigration barriers and bureaucracies when employing specialised skills from outside.

– The President directed that the multiplicity of licenses and agencies needs to be addressed.

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