The school desk challenge – Zambia Daily Mail – Zambia Daily Mail

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Zambia Daily Mail
THE news that the country has a deficit of school desks of two million should not come as a surprise, what with the free education policy that the new dawn government has successfully implemented. We know that this well-intended policy with far-reaching benefits in years to come has come with its own challenges. But they are not  nsurmountable challenges. And of course even before the implementation of this policy, our young learners in some schools were still sitting on the floor during classes.
A deficit of anything is bad, but as with every deficit also comes opportunity – opportunity for those who are enterprising to meet the demand and expand their businesses, create jobs and ultimately contribute to the growth of the economy. This is how this deficit should be viewed – a business opportunity. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Nicholas Phiri has encouraged local entrepreneurs to get the required specifications so that they can start producing and supplying desks.
“These are businesses that have been here through thin and thick,” Mr Phiri said. “We need to start changing our attitude towards Zambian businesses and believe that sustainable development is only possible if we empower local entrepreneurs.” Indeed, when it comes to school desks, there is absolutely no reason why our country should look beyond its borders, like we have done before. Our country has enough raw materials to meet this great need. What more, the new dawn government has provided the means to turn raw timber into finished products through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which can be accessed by small-scale entrepreneurs (SMEs) as capital to manufacture desks. We believe the K25.7 million given to each constituency, if well applied, is enough to end this problem and, in the process, create hundreds of new jobs for our citizens. The onus, then, is now on SMEs and other businesses to utilise this opportunity to develop their businesses. There is so much emphasis now on value addition and reducing on importation of things we can make or grow ourselves. This in itself is the first major step towards real economic growth – when a country becomes self-sufficient and less reliant on the outside world. We should not allow raw materials such as our valuable timber to be exported outside our country in its raw form. What does it take to turn a piece of timber into a finished product like furniture? Not much in terms of capital investment. Besides, this is what our people have done successfully in various markets and in their backyards across the country for many years, perfecting their skills. In fact, even schools themselves should get involved in this venture, making their own desks in their workshops, which they can also sell to augment their incomes. It is also a good way to pass on entrepreneurial skills to the pupils. We have a big problem, but we also hold the answer to that problem. When it comes to problem-solving, we should always be inward-looking, for many solutions to our problems lie right within us. This has been the emphasis of Mr Hakainde Hichilema from the time that he took over office as President. And so we call on the private sector to grab this opportunity and meet the demand.
 
Phone: +260 97 7349431
Tel: +260 211 227793
Email: adverts@daily-mail.co.zm

Phone: +260 97 7336723
Tel: +260 211 227793
Email: adverts@daily-mail.co.zm
Phone: +260 97 7336723
Tel: +260 211 227793
Email: adverts@daily-mail.co.zm
Address – P.O Box 31421, Longolongo Road, Lusaka

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