By STEPHANIE KUNDA –
NEWLY-appointed United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote has said the decision by the Zambian Government to create a solid waste management utility company to curtail garbage induced disease outbreaks and keep drainages free of debris is a smart move.
Mr Foote said a solid waste utility company to be established by the Zambian Government will significantly complement the efforts of the US financed Millennium Challenge Account Programme, which is being implemented to improve sanitation and water reticulation in Lusaka.
According to a statement issued by ministry of Finance head of public relations Chileshe Kandeta, Mr Foote was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Finance Minister Felix Mutati at his office in Lusaka yesterday.
“We look forward to the formation of the utility company,” he said, after an assurance by Mr Mutati that his ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, was working round the clock to ensure that the planned solid waste utility firm was functional within the next three months.
Mr Foote took the opportunity to pay tribute to Zambia for maintaining a strong partnership with the US as seen in the quality and impact of programmes in various sectors, such as energy, health, and water development that are jointly implemented between the governments of the two countries.
The US representative declared that Zambia’s natural endowments were second to none in Africa, but was swift to advise that there was need to boost the competitiveness of the tourism industry,“ in order to tap into people’s disposal incomes, create jobs and earn substantial foreign exchange,” especially from developed markets such as the US.
“Zambia’s development is in the best interest of the US,” assured Mr Foote, and that “we, therefore, look forward to your strong commitment in nurturing our mutual development interests.”
Prior to the appointment as Ambassador to Zambia, Mr Foote worked at the US Department of State in Washington DC, and was tasked with managing programmes and networks related to wildlife conservation and philanthropic tourism.
And responding to Mr Foote’s request for a brief on economic affairs, Mr Mutati reaffirmed that the Zambian Government was committed to continue on the path of economic stabilisation and growth path.
Mr Mutati said the Zambian Cabinet had halted commercial borrowing as an expression of the Government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation, restoration of policy credibility, and debt capping.
“In 2018, our pledge for policy consistency is manifested by the decision to promote tax stability in high foreign exchange earning sectors such as tourism and mining,” Mr Mutati said.