MARSHAL PLAN FOR WESTERN AND LUAPULA PROVINCE
MARSHAL PLAN FOR WESTERN AND LUAPULA PROVINCES
The United Liberal Party (ULP) is calling on government to develop a Marshall Plan to help accelarate development in Western and Luapula provinces. The Marshall Plan we are proposing is similar to the “Marshall Plan” for Europe, announced 60 years ago by US Secretary of State George C. Marshall on June 5, 1947, which set Europe on a path of economic development and ultimately led to the formation of the European Union. Our “Marshall Plan” should be called the “Zambia for All Plan”.
Western and Luapula Provinces have consistently emerged as the poorest provinces in most surveys conducted by the Central Statistics Office with the incidence of poverty remaining between 75 and 84 percent of the total population. This is not to say that other provinces should be excluded from the development agenda of the country. We are simply calling on government to put Western and Luapula Provinces as priority areas in the development process in order of agriculture, health, education and directing investment from the Foreign Direct Investment projects.
The ULP feel that in order to get greater equity within the country it is necessary to pay extra attention to the two least developed provinces in the country. The aim of any government should be to ensure that no province or region is left behind in development. The statistics we have show that the two provinces which are lagging behind in terms of development in Zambia are Western and Luapula Provinces.
Compared to other provinces Western and Luapula Provinces are least developed in terms of education, agriculture, health infrastructure, road infrastructure and Direct Foreign Investment which is channeled to the province. There is a need for Government to increase funding in these areas so that Western and Luapula Provinces can catch-up with the rest of the country in terms of development.
In surveys conducted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on the access to basic amenities such as safe drinking water Western Province has the lowest percentage per household. For example Western province has the lowest proportion of households with access to electricity which stands at 3.5 percent. Yet electricity is one of the major sources of energy that can help accelerate development in the country.
The proportion of households without a toilet facility is highest in Western Province at 53.4 percent, followed by 33.2 percent in Southern Province and 21.5 percent in Eastern Province. Lusaka Province has the largest proportion of households with access to safe water (96 percent) while Northern Province and Western Province have some of the lowest proportions of households with access to safe water in the country. Luapula Province has some of the highest deficiencies in nutrition among children resulting in stunting levels well above the national average of 54.2 percent. Luapula Province also has levels of poverty above 75% of the population.
The “Zambia for All Plan should deliberately target groups that represent medium and low-income groups who are in the category of subsistence living. The targeted groups should not be less than 50 000 households, representing the rural population. The “Zambia for All Plan” for Western and Luapula Provinces should also aim at reaching directly to at least 15 000 farming families in each Province including those living below the subsistence level.
Funds should also be provided in the “Zambia for All Plan” to target female-headed households which have been on the increase as a result of high HIV/AIDS infection. Investment in health should also target women and girls because they are the most vulnerable in terms of HIV/AIDS infection. The poorest provinces in Zambia deserve all the necessary efforts from government to reduce the high levels of poverty. Government should include the “Zambia for All Plan” for Western and Luapula Provinces in the “6th National Development Plan” for the country.
ULP challenges all the other political parties to publicly declare their commitment to having the least developed provinces being given special attention which will bring them to simillar levels of development with other provinces.
Sakwiba Sikota SC
United Liberal Party (ULP)
May 17, 2010