By Cynthia Chiyabu Ngwengwe
EIZ as a professional body has the mandate to protect the image of engineering and advise government when policies are formulated.
Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development Hon. Ronald Chitotela said this when he officiated at the 2018 EIZ AGM at Avani Victoria Falls Resort in Livingstone.
Hon. Chitotela said engineering professionals must aspire to serve the nation and address all engineering challenges in the country.
He said Zambia is what it is today because of engineering professionals and not politicians.
He said there is need to review the EIZ Act to ensure that professionals who do shoddy works are held accountable in the implementation of various infrastructures.
Hon. Chitotela said African engineers should take a lead in engineering works and not leave all engineering works to foreigners.
“I challenge the engineers to be innovative and create standards that will be acceptable not only in Africa but the world and create things that will stand and not just fix things but create innovative things that are not there,” he said.
He went on to say that there is need for professionals and politicians to work together in order to develop and take the country’s economy forward.
He went on to say that the symposium theme “Engineering for an innovative and competitive Zambia” is appropriate and a step in the right direction towards encouraging and uplifting engineering in order to achieve an innovative and competitive Zambia.
“The engineering fraternity is crucial to a nation’s prosperity because engineering contributes enormously to every country’s social and economic development and without access to engineering products, any country’s economy would likely grind to a halt and so, the engineering fraternity has the responsibility to improve the life of citizens in Zambia almost more than any other.”
“As minister in charge of engineering in the country I am happy that the engineering profession is working at finding solutions through such gatherings that aim to compliment government efforts of achieving innovative infrastructure development for the country as outlined in the 7th National Development Plan.”
“As government we believe that infrastructure is an essential driver of competitiveness which is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of any economy in the country,” he said.
He said in an effort to improve the business environment, government has set out to make the country more attractive by enhancing infrastructure development and that is why professionals are needed to help actualise government efforts by contributing to development and construction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, solar and hydro power projects, hospitals, schools, water reticulation systems and other support infrastructure thereby help set the stage for socio-economic development.
“Being innovative will not only result in economic growth but also attract investors because better and improved infrastructure promotes sustainable and socially inclusive economic growth,” he said.
He went on to say that one innovative engineering project that government has embarked on is the construction of the 321-kilometre Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway which will be a solution for the country’s socio-economic challenges, as it is an important route to and from the democratic Republic of Congo and other Southern African Development Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern African countries.
Hon. Chitotela said this showed that government is striving at improving the country through the many engineering projects that are being carried out with professional advice from the engineering professionals.
He further said government appreciates the institution’s efforts towards improving the engineering image in the country, through various contributions when called upon by government.
“Clearly, your commitment in advising the government on matters of engineering is a clear indication of a strong relationship that has been developed between the policy marker, professionals, and regulatory bodies such as yourselves,” he said.
He said government has already set the agenda to create an innovative and competitive environment for the people of Zambia as seen through the various projects going on around the country such as the construction of a new international terminal at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and a Greenfield airport, at the Copperbelt International Airport.
“For us to be competitive amongst other countries, government is promoting the establishment of economic zones, industrial parks and innovation hubs in order to broaden its capacity to meet empowerment demands among the people of Zambia,” he said.