PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he has no more time for fruitless talk and meaningless politicking.
Speaking in Kasama this morning during the launch of oil explorations by Tullow in Northern and Luapula provinces, President Lungu said he had a job to do.
He said when doomsayers and other unpatriotic elements seek to undermine Zambia by purveying falsehoods in some foreign media outlets, their credible response to “their lies” must be investments such as the oil explorations.
“When they say Zambia is unsuitable for business and politics, please show them the Tullow example,” President Lungu said.
He said he was committed to an all-inclusive development agenda that spoke to the interests of all Zambians.
That’s why I want to use this opportunity to urge all my colleagues in Cabinet in all functionaries in our great party, the PF, to focus our eyes on the ball,
President Lungu said.
Let them talk and let us work. We have just clocked a year since the people gave us a clear mandate to govern. We shall not let them down. Let me make it clear that both in and outside government, I have no more time for fruitless talk and meaningless politicking. I have got a job to do.
He said the launch of a full tensiometer gravity survey represented a key milestone for oil and gas exploration in Zambia.
“It is the first survey of its kind to be carried out in our country and we hope it heralds the emergence of a Zambian petroleum industry, which will significantly boost our efforts to diversify the economy and create jobs,” President Lungu said.
He said Zambia had a long history in copper mining, upon which the economy had been dependent.
President Lungu said his government had set a clear agenda to diversify the economy beyond copper and to realise value for the country’s other natural resources in a way that was transparent, sustainable and delivered positive impact.
“The growth of an oil and gas sector is a key pillar of our diversification policy and my government is working hard to create the necessary regulatory and fiscal measures to guide the development of this sector to ensure it unlocks value for all our people,” he said.
“I do not say this lightly. We know that to create a new industry – the petroleum industry – is ambitious. To decide to do so in a way which is transformational for the many and not the few and which future generations can thank us for, is far from easy. However, it is the only way we will progress as a nation.”
President Lungu said attracting committed partners who understood and shared his government’s development vision was the right thing to do.
He said he was delighted that Tullow Oil was not just committing to major capital investment in Zambia, but was managing its presence in the country responsibly, ethically and sustainably.
“Listed on the London, Irish and Ghanaian stock exchanges, Tullow oil has built an enviable track record in oil and gas discoveries in Ghana in 2016, and major discoveries in Uganda and Kenya. They have a proven record and the appropriate skills and experience to help us realise the value of our natural resources, grow our economy and transform livelihoods,” President Lungu said. “Oil and gas development can and should be a game changer for any country – particularly a fast industrialising economy such as Zambia.”
He said the launch also marked a major milestone in his government’s efforts to attract foreign investment, build local capacity and enable technology transfer.
President Lungu noted that by partnering with a Zambian company – Geo Petroleum Ltd – to develop the asset, Tullow was creating local jobs and strengthening Zambia’s human capital.
“My government considers investors as partners in development. We welcome qualified, reputable and experienced companies who share our development vision and we actively invite such partners to invest in Zambia,” said President Lungu.
“Let me therefore take this opportunity to publicly assure Tullow and other petroleum exploration companies that my government will complete the revision of legislation for the petroleum industry to create clarity and to establish a conducive and fair regulatory environment.”