We can’t continue pursuing handouts – Lungu

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says begging cannot sustain a human being but hard work.

And the Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) has threatened to sue higher education minister Brian Mushimba for failure to appoint a board at TEVETA.

Officiating at this year’s Labour Day commemoration yesterday at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, the Head of State said even at individual level, one cannot make money without working hard.

“At the individual level, money cannot be in your pocket without hard work. Food cannot come to your table without hard work. And begging cannot sustain a human being. Therefore, we all need to work hard. If we fail at individual level, it means the whole nation fails,” he told the audience.

“We cannot develop our country without hard work at individual level. We just have to work hard in whatever we do. We cannot continue feeling sorry for ourselves. We cannot continue pursuing handouts anymore. We cannot believe political rhetoric from cynics. We all have to work.”

And President Lungu hailed frontline workers who have risked their lives amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

“To our frontline workers, I salute you for your efforts to cure and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. To all Zambian citizens, I salute you for being patriotic in stopping the spread of the virus. Let us all continue to adhere to the public health guidelines,” said President Lungu. “Let me conclude by urging employers to continue seeking innovative ways of sustaining their businesses in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like an eagle, we shall rise above our challenges and together we shall out manuevre this pandemic.”

And ZFE president Myra Ngoma told President Edgar Lungu that for four years TEVETA has had no board.

She said such conduct by the minister constituted a breach of the law.

“By not appointing the board, the honourable minister has deprived the industry of their space to contribute to issues of skills development in the country. This is purely and sadly an act of non-compliance to legislation and failure to respect corporate governance tenets by the responsible minister, which must not continue,” she said. “Should this trend continue, where we have some of the Cabinet ministers whom we respect so much and expect them to deliver like the case in question, Your Excellency, with the honourable at higher education, that despite our efforts to engage and to remind him about this matter, no action has been taken. We as ZFE will not hesitate to take such minister to court in the near future so that they can be given an opportunity to explain why they decided not to appoint boards when they are called upon by the enabling legislation to do so.”

She said this was an issue that had dragged for a long time.

“Away from this year’s Labour Day theme, Your Excellency, we would like to use this opportunity to raise one serious issue of concern that we have as Zambia Federation of Employers and our members on governance of our statutory institutions,” said Ngoma. “This concerns the non-existence of a board of directors at Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA), a matter which we raised with you, sir during the Labour Day commemoration in 2019 but today it has not been attended to. The Technical and Vocational Entrepreneurship Act No. 13 of 1998 is very clear under Section 6 that the Minister responsible for higher education shall appoint board members of the authority, and it does not say ‘may’. Sadly, it has been over four years now that there has been no board of directors at TEVETA, as both the current Minister and her predecessor have not appointed the board of directors at the Authority.’’

This year’s theme is: Promoting industrialisation through productivity, decent work and sustainable economic growth amid COVID-19.

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