The Zambian Empowerment Hub for Entrepreneurship and Skills Training (ZEHEST) has issued a pressing call to the government, urging it to take swift action in lowering the escalating cost of living. The organization’s thorough assessment on the ground reveals concerning trends, including the high price of basic essentials such as a 25 kg bag of mealie meal, the country’s staple food, which now exceeds k200. Moreover, rising fuel costs, elevated ZESCO tariff units, increased transportation expenses, escalating unemployment rates, and the displacement of street vendors from the Central Business District have collectively plunged a significant portion of citizens into a deep economic crisis.
In its capacity as a forward-thinking non-governmental think tank, ZEHEST advocates for immediate government intervention to address the exorbitant cost of living, enabling broader access to affordable necessities for many Zambians. The organization proposes several strategies to tackle this issue head-on.
ZEHEST strongly encourages the government to invest in and empower the Zambia National Service (ZNS) and to fully operationalize the solar milling plants. This would pave the way for substantial mealie meal production and nationwide distribution at a subsidized price. The organization contends that it is the inherent duty and responsibility of any government to ensure the provision of essential commodities for its citizens.
The call for action extends to fostering processing, manufacturing, and value addition industries to bolster the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). ZEHEST underscores its solution-oriented approach, emphasizing the organization’s dedication to offering alternative solutions that can be practically implemented for the betterment of the population.
Highlighting the alarming predicament of numerous graduates without employment opportunities, ZEHEST urges the government to create an environment conducive to job creation. The organization reaffirms its commitment to supplement government initiatives by equipping communities with skills, information, and knowledge to empower them.
The urgency of addressing the high cost of mealie meal is underscored by the potential dire consequences on the nation’s productivity due to widespread hunger. ZEHEST is firm in its belief that leveraging Zambia’s abundant natural resources can provide a viable pathway to economic recovery and debt repayment, necessitating the formulation of a sustainable domestic resources strategy.
ZEHEST’s Executive Director, Mr. Clarence Moonde Muzyamba, emphasizes that discussing poverty in a country endowed with abundant natural resources is a matter of national embarrassment. He calls for unity and collective effort to transform Zambia into a more prosperous and equitable nation for all.