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KING CALLS FOR ECONOMIC REVOLUTION

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - SWAZI OBSERVER-19-Mar-2011

 

As the country reeled from politics inspired mass protests this week, His Majesty King Mswati III on Friday spoke strongly for a sweeping revolution to bring back the economy and social services from the brink of collapse it is currently headed to.

“What the country needs right now is not protests or militant revolution, but an economic revolution to focus on reviving the economy, raising the income of Swazis through employment creation, putting food on the people’s table and launching a concerted and decisive onslaught on poverty,” the King said in conversation with Weekend Observer in the wee hours of Friday morning.

The King acknowledged that social services and the welfare of many people had taken a knock from the current cashflow problems facing government. However, he said the Swazi nation should use the current challenges as a launch pad for an economic revolution in which everyone in their corner played a part in putting the wagon back on track.

“This calls for unity of purpose more than ever. It helps no one to go to the streets and cause disruption in times when the country is buckling under the pressure of the economic downturn. We need to work even harder and sacrifice even more today for a better tomorrow. The storms shall pass for sure, but the period they will last will depend solely on our actions as a nation,” the King said.

One area that the King dwelt on in his call for economic recovery is for the Swazi people to identify projects that will bring instant results of wealth creation without requiring much capital. “There is so much we can do as a country to stimulate small scale businesses and create industries, particularly in the rural areas. It is not good that as a country we have to import almost everything we need yet we have land resources, finance institutions with enough resources to provide loans and capital to small, medium and large scale entrepreneurs. Take the example of indigenous chickens, vegetables and handicraft, for instance. Our people need to be properly organised, trained, guided and assisted in sourcing finance so that they could make an even much more positive contribution to the economy,” the King said.

maximise

His Majesty said having set up concrete structures to promote local entrepreneurship and maximise performance in all parts of the country, the focus would then shift to foreign direct investment (FDI) to undertake joint ventures with Swazis. He said the spirit that should be the driving force for each and every Swazi was that at the end of each day, one must reflect on what positive contribution – big or small – one might have made towards solving the current problems and reviving the economy.

“We need an economic revolution, a new mindset and a spirit of hardwork and sacrifice. Do not be driven by the clock, but the work that needs to be done,” the King said. He indicated that some of the bitterness in some quarters could be attributed to the fact that they may not be privy to or see there is a robust and clear effort to reach all sectors with assistance to create a better life for all.

“Much has been done by government, private sector, labour, NGOs, the Church, youth and civic society to foster growth and improve the welfare of the people all over the country.

“However, in times like these we need to come together as a nation, take stock of where we are and forge a clear way forward using existing programmes and resources for the overall and equitable benefit of everyone of us,” His Majesty said. He also spoke strongly about the at most times fraudulent and unjustified over pricing and over escalation of costs for capital projects. He said some projects were started decades ago but have not been completed because costs were unjustifiably hiked at every turn.

welfare

“This is unacceptable because such delays and drain on resources impacts badly on the general development of the country and overall welfare and prosperity of the people at grassroots level. This must come to a stop,” the King said.

His Majesty said he would personally ensure there was visible political will and financial commitment from government and development partners to ensure that such an economic revolution is sustained for the betterment of the lives of all the people. The King said the culture of dependency and lack of self-sufficiency should come to an end with everyone playing a clear role to reviving the economy. “Everything else will follow,” he said.


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