By STEVEN ZANDE –
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has appealed to traditional leaders in Northern Province to avail some land to Government for investors to help unlock the agriculture and tourism potential in the area.
President Lungu said Government was finding it difficult to develop certain parts of province because some traditional leaders were reluctant to give out land to foreign investors intending to invest in agriculture and fish farming.
“Land is paramount to development. But I find it difficult to fully develop the area. As Government we cannot do everything on our own. We have people from Pakistan, India who want to invest in keeping cattle, tourism and agriculture.
“So be open and feel free to help us with land this is the best way we shall realise development which will also benefit local communities,” the President said.
The Head of State said this on Friday evening when he held a meeting with 22 area traditional leaders.
He said Government under the Patriotic (PF) was keen to develop strong linkages with chiefs with a view to promote dialogue, unity and national development.
Mr Lungu explained that Government was aware of various pressing needs facing rural areas adding that he was addressing the challenges in phases.
The President assured traditional leaders that although he could not provide all their development needs at once, Government would ensure equitable development in every part of the country.
Earlier, Chief Kaputa who spoke on behalf of the chiefs said Northern Province recognised only one President, Mr Lungu.
Chief Puta appealed to Government to consider accelerating completion of roads in the vast area for enhancement of economic activities.
The traditional leader noted that areas like Kaputa had good grazing land which could support a robust diary and beef industry which in addition to a rice belt could help create more than 42, 000 jobs for locals.
“Your Excellency chiefs are custodians of culture. For us to do our work efficiently we depend on timely subsidies from the Central Government,” Chief Kaputa said.
The President reiterated that he would be lobbying for funds from Finance Minister Felix Mutati to help implement urgent projects that had significant benefit for the population.