Chief Government Spokesperson, Dora Siliya says that President Edgar Lungu will continue to travel with or without austerity measures in place.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka, Ms Siliya, said that this did not mean the President will travel unnecessarily, adding that each trip President Lungu makes abroad is about the country and not about him as an individual.
Ms Siliya said that the President’s job description includes selling Zambia abroad to attract investment, adding that if the President does not travel, people in the country will be sharing poverty.
Ms Siliya who is also Information and broadcasting services Minister said that all the trips that President Lungu makes both outside and within the country are budgeted for.
The Minister said that Government always anticipates where President Lungu is likely to travel when formulating the national budget.
And on the Turkey trip that generated criticism, President Edgar Lungu said that his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan was desirous to enhancing bilateral relations between Zambia and Turkey.
President Lungu disclosed that President Erdogan informed him when the two leaders held a high-level bilateral meeting.
President Lungu further stated that his Turkish counterpart was committed towards improving diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries.
The President stated that Mr Erdogan has promised to visit Zambia soon.
“Well from us from Zambia being part of the invited guests, I think we have learnt a lot. We want to see how we can enhance our bilateral cooperation between Zambia and Turkey,” President Lungu said.
He said he was happy that the ministers and other officials in his delegation held fruitful meetings with the Turkish private sector who showed interest in investing in Zambia.
“We are already working with some of the private partners like in the energy sector. I have said in the past quoting some scholars who have said that there is no finishing line to development. I think mankind keeps developing. So in tourism, Turkey has done very well,” President Lungu said.
He said Zambia’s tourism and agriculture sectors are on the right development trajectory and it is through cooperation with countries like Turkey that they can record more growth.
“We are talking of value addition in Zambia, and I think that time is gone when African countries thrived by exporting raw materials and we want to export finished products and we can only do so if we industrialise our economies,” he said.
He pointed out that Zambia could learn from Turkey’s advanced agricultural practices such as agro-processing and value addition in order for the country to export finished products as opposed to raw goods.
Mr. Lungu disclosed that government has added a new dimension to economic diplomacy by ensuring ministers include businessmen in their delegations to explore possible public private partnerships (PPP).
“So I think that it will not be ministerial trips anymore it will be business trips, ministers accompanied by businessmen visiting to see how they can cooperate in public private partnerships.
“And I think criticism will always be there , come to think of it, every time the President goes out of the country there is a lot of talk but I think that it is worth it,” President Lungu said.