PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has called upon the Engineering Institution of Zambia and the National Construction Council to take the lead in ensuring that buildings constructed in the country do not just stand the test of time but are not a danger to the public.
During the inauguration of the business park of ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance company), a regional institution of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, President Lungu said all those involved in construction should strictly adhere to their professional ethics.
“I am concerned that while we are witnessing some fantastic buildings being erected in the country, we are also being reminded that all that glitters is not gold. It is disturbing to realise that after so much money has been spent on erecting a building, a few months later the building is discovered to be on the brink of collapse,” he said.
“I call upon the Engineering Institution of Zambia and the National Construction Council to take the lead in ensuring that buildings constructed in this country do not just stand the test of time but are not a danger to the public. My sincere hope is that this building will stand the test of time. I must admit that this building has added to the beauty of our capital city.”
President Lungu said development of the business Park was a significant achievement and he was certain that the operations of ZEP-RE would ascend to higher levels of becoming a progressive African story all can be proud of.
He said Zambia as a founder signatory state to the agreement establishing ZEP-RE, and a host country to the company was proud to be associated with the significant achievement.
President Lungu said he was pleased to learn that the company had actively participated in mitigating losses suffered in the market as part of its business operations.
He said the company had invested more than US $50 million in government bonds over the last 10 years. He said such investments were critical to a country‘s economic development.
President Lungu said it was gratifying that ZEP-RE had also undertaken market development initiatives to grow financial inclusion, extending to the development of the agriculture sector.
“This is a key component of our economy designed to address food security, and risks faced by farmers. And I am very happy for this. I am aware that the company is also supporting the development of micro-insurance solutions targeted at low-income earners, and small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.
“It is pleasing also that the company has developed technical and professional skills for practitioners within the insurance industry. In addition to this, it is supporting policy and regulatory reforms which is aimed at growing insurance penetration, enhancing the capacity of local insurance companies, and increasing the contribution of insurance to our gross domestic product.”
President Lungu said ZEP-RE had continued to meet the mandate for which it was established.
“Therefore, the company’s financial inclusion initiatives, not only here in Zambia, but also in other countries among them Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe must be applauded. The company’s support in the region has enabled the provision of low cost housing, long term savings or pension coverage, health insurance, and insurance coverage of farmers under our national agriculture insurance schemes,” he said.
He said if countries can actively address the risks commonly faced by the ordinary population, and enable their integration into the financial system, then obligations as leaders would have been fulfilled.
President Lungu said everyone was aware that insurance funds constituted a major contributor to economic development, particularly within developed economies.
He said it was critical that the country worked towards stemming the flight of such funds, and use them for developing its own market.
“This is one of the major reasons why we established ZEP-RE and we can only drive meaningful development and the intentions of the African Continental Free Trade Area by deliberately working together, and supporting home grown institutions,” he said.
President Lungu said the government holds a shareholding of 6.19 per cent in the company.