Today was the official opening of the third session of the eleventh parliament of the Kingdom of Eswatini. We have tried our best to summurize the speech below;
Before the King started with his speech he welcomed all those who were present and those who had joined through the various social media platforms. The King also mentioned that this will be the normal way of meeting because of covid 19, not only the online meetings but the pandemic has also brought about a totally new normal way of life.
In connection with the national response to covid 19 pandemic, the King mentioned that the Kingdom has had to put in place covid 19 regulations and guidelines to protect EmaSwati. Such include social distancing, steps to take when one is infected, washing of hands and sanitizing. Emphasis has also been made on the wearing of masks and it’s a great thing that Eswatini is now able to produce surgical masks and other protective clothing.
The King further reflected on how a year has gone by without work for others as well as schools because of lockdown and everyone is keen on to see schools open but the process must be carried with due care and attention to ensure a safe re-opening environment.
His Majesty gave recognition to all frontline health workers, their bravery and hard work. He also forwarded his condolences to all families who lost their loved ones. The King mentioned some developments in the health systems, such as a medical laboratory that has enabled the producing of covid 19 test results locally and an oxygen supply facility. The King further congratulated the countries that have developed several vaccines and that the government is in a process of acquiring the right vaccine. The King also shared his own covid 19 encounter that he tested positive in the first week of January 2021.
He also shared that there is treatment through the use of an anti-viral drug. The King highlighted on the importance of Incwala Ceremony and thanked EmaSwati who came out in numbers to attend the celebration. He further mentioned that screening and testing was made to ensure the safety of those who attended. In regards to the set agenda of reaching 2022 as a First World country, the King said that due to the challenges caused by the covid 19 pandemic it is clear that it will be impossible to reach the target. The King further mentioned how the pandemic has affected business and jobs and said that much needs to be done to realize economic recovery and it has to start with ensuring that the pandemic is successfully conquered.
The King also spoke about the government fiscal position, how the government revenue loss and high expenditure as a result of the pandemic is beyond measure. He further mentioned how fortunate the country has been to get financing from international organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He also mentioned how tough a year this will be and the cautiousness of spending as well as the fight against corruption.
The King highlighted the need to be proficient by achieving more with less in the use of government resources in order to attain macro-economic stability, accelerate economic growth, create jobs, raise income, provide for the welfare of those less privileged and reduce poverty. The King also mentioned how the country will continue to prioritize and support towards infrastructure development.
Among these is the development of a 300MW coal fired thermal power plant at Lubhuku. He went on to thank companies, individuals, organizations, countries and development partners that have been supportive during this time. These have contributed significant amounts of money to the country. The King also highlighted how the nation faced one of the heaviest floods ever seen in recent times which caused a lot of damage to businesses, properties, human beings and the environment.
He said the government shall prioritize the drawing up of a national adaptation plan to highlight research and nature based solutions for this challenge. He further mentioned that the government is considering the implementation of key programmes that will spearheaded the attainment of both household and national food security.
The kind also congratulated the country for the milestone it attained in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Eswatini became one of the first nations in the world to reach and surpass the set global targets of 95-95-95. This means that the number of people living with HIV in the country know their status, are on life saving treatment and are virally suppressed. In conclusion the King encouraged the nation to continue adhering to all covid 19 regulations. He also wished the parliament success in bringing together all measures necessary to help the county move forward. He then declared the parliament officially open.