By Mukosha Funga
President Edgar Lungu has directed the Ministry of Communications to finalise the statutory instrument to effect the 30 Ngwee internet calling tariff saying people have already accepted it.
And President Lungu says the move to install Highway speed cameras is also final, as the country cannot start moving backwards because of a few talkative people.
Meanwhile, President Lungu says those who are bitter with government’s cooperation with China want the country to remain primitive.
President Lungu said this during a video call with some government officials and traditional leaders whilst at Huawei offices in China.
Ministry of Communications Permanent Secretary Misheck Lungu told President Lungu that there was a hiccup with the way the 30 Ngwee tariff was announced.
“I really want to appreciate your guidance and assure you that going forward, we want to implement a broadband strategy and ensure that most of our parts have internet so that all these e-platform activities are going to be rolled out on the internet. And I think we face two hiccups in terms of the way we announce the 30 Ngwee user charge,” said Misheck before President Lungu cut him off saying, “Forget about the 30 Ngwee. It’s gone, it’s not an issue anymore. The people have accepted it. Let’s move. Don’t even talk about it.”
And President Lungu said even the installation of the speed cameras was final.
“Even the [speed] cameras, forget. The people said ‘improve signage’, we improved signage. We cannot be going backwards when the nation, the continent and the entire globe is moving forward just because of talkative Zambians, no, don’t be cheated, people are appreciating these things. So put a close to the cameras, the 30 Ngwee put a close and make sure that the towers are put throughout the country so that we move,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu said those who were bitter with government’s cooperation with China wanted the country to remain primitive.
“You can see why some people are very bitter with our cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, they want us to remain primitive, so tell them,” President Lungu said, after Chief Shakumbila hailed him for improving connectivity in the rural areas.
In response, Chief Shakumbila advised the Head of State to ignore detractors.
“You don’t have to listen to them your excellency, your job is to put Zambia where you want to put Zambia and everybody is looking forward to that. Zambians have entrusted you with all the responsibility of doing what you think is better for Zambians. Those who talk can talk because talking never comes to an end,” said Chief Shakumbila.
And E-Government Permanent Secretary Dr Martine Mtonga informed President Lungu that the e-voucher system was already up and running.
“Yesterday was 1st September and we opened up the e-voucher system. The system now is operational in all the districts except a few challenges in the provincial administration Copperbelt and Provincial administration Central [Province] but my team is going there tomorrow to go and sort out the challenges they are having. So the system has started and farmers yesterday started collecting inputs where it was available in agro-dealing shops. And also, we have already popularised it to the areas where we have fertiliser in the shades. There also, we have deployed biometrics, Monday we will be meeting some banks to tell them that the system is open now and they can log in and also transmit to the farmers that have deposited. On this type of system we are using currently, we have deployed it to all the ministries except two, including your office Your Excellency, State House. But we want to encourage the honourable ministers to be using this type of system so that they can shorten the time of action,” said Dr Mtonga.
In response, President Lungu said implementing the e-government system was a progressive move.
“Thank you so much for going ahead and implementing the system. Most of these systems we are implementing, we found them but our predecessors were too afraid of these corruption allegations and innuendos by detractors. I am not ashamed to say these ideas are not mine, but they were somewhere in shelves gathering dust. The e-Cabinet was there, they talked about it but they couldn’t implement it until I came and I said we are going to do it. So of us are scared of buttons and tabs and so on but we are all familiar now, we are working so well with the system, thumbs up, keep it up,” said President Lungu.