By REBECCA CHILESHE
The President said this at the Freedom Statue in Lusaka yesterday when he officiated at celebrations to mark this year’s Labour Day.
He said because of the hard work of Zambian people, the economy has seen a steady growth of seven percent resulting from a rise in the rate of employment, which will in turn result into the country’s prosperity.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Creating Secure Employment with Freedom, Equity and Human Dignity’.
“To all of you who work hard to have a better Zambia, I salute you. We are a hard-working, skill-driven people, and together we are building a country which we can all be proud of. There are too many people in Zambia without jobs, and their plight is always on my mind. I personally thank you because you are the Zambia we talk about,” the President said.
President Banda said whenever he visits other countries people compliment him on the reputation of Zambian workers.
He said it is because of the country’s hard-working people that investors come from all over the world to invest in Zambia.
President Banda said this has resulted in a constant stream of international investors to the country, driven by economic policies aimed at stimulating growth.
The President said last year alone, Zambia attracted investments worth US$2 billion, with 18,000 new businesses being registered.
He said the mining sector is doing well, and that copper production is expected to surpass one million tonnes, all because of the hard work of the miners.
President Banda said the education, health, agriculture and other sectors of the economy are performing well because of the hard work of Zambians.
He said after the elections, his government will continue to create more jobs, adding that he feels he has done enough work for him to be re-elected.
“I am committed to securing the foundation of a better future for all Zambians so that they have the opportunity to work, to earn a good wage in a country where no family goes hungry, and where we can all benefit from a prosperous economy,” he said.
President Banda also paid tribute to mothers and women throughout the country who try their best to look after their families without a salary.
Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba commended President Banda for securing jobs of thousands of Zambians during the global economic crisis of 2009-2010.
Mr Hikaumba said President Banda had just been elected into office, but settled in quickly and did all he could to safeguard the jobs of many Zambians.
He, however, said the crisis of unemployment, housing, casualisation, poor education and inadequate nutrition continues to haunt many Zambians.
Mr Hikaumba said Government must devise a system that will enable retired public workers to get their packages on time.
He challenged members of Parliament (MPs) to allow retirees to get their benefits before they (MPs) are paid their gratuity at the end of their term.
Mr Hikaumba called on leaders of political parties to preach peace as the country heads towards this year’s tripartite elections.
He said politicians must promote peace because violence is a danger to peace.
Mr Hikaumba also called on the media to promote peace through objective reporting.