Asmara, 17 December 2009

Eritrea – Minister of Information web

President Isaias Afwerki said that significant plans along with the necessary budget have been mapped out for 2010 in all sectors with a view to providing added impetus to the national development drive through rebuffing any and all threats.

The President made the remarks at the opening session of the Eritrean Cabinet of Ministers that got underway today at the Denden Hall here in the capital. In the 3-year  Road-Map he presented at the meeting as regards national development program set for implementation beginning 2010 involving economic, social, political and security domains, he indicated that the biggest budget has been allocated for the task of achieving food security. Irrespective of the negative consequences resulting from the inadequate harvest in 2009, there would exist no hunger taking into account the available national reserves, President Isaias asserted. The President further explained that improved distribution and control mechanisms would be applied towards ensuring economic stability and confidence.

Stating that enhanced efforts would be made in the coming year towards putting in place agricultural infrastructure facilities, introducing modern machineries and promoting soil and water conservation activities in a bid to avoid dependence on rainfall, he outlined the programs envisaged for implementation focusing on the development of Agro-industrial plants and boosting animals resources and products. President Isaias went on to say that concerted action is being taken to expand the supply of fish products in all parts of the country, in addition to raising the export of fisheries products on the basis of internal capacity and the partnership of foreign companies. Extensive salt works facilities would also be put in place in 2010 so as to boost salt export, he elaborated.

Regarding road construction programs, President Isaias stated that top priority would be given to the strategic roads of Massawa-Asmara-Mensurea-Agordat, Agordat-Sawa-Girmaika and Massawa-Karora.  Besides, there are plans to launch the construction of railway running from Asmara to Keren and Agordat, he added. Moreover, the President gave extensive briefings as regards the construction of water diversion schemes and agricultural infrastructures in both the eastern and western lowlands, as well as residential housing complexes in different corners of the country. Stressing that the availability of various building materials is a prerequisite in this regard, he indicated that the cement factors due to go operational by 2010 is expected to provide major impetus to all-round construction undertakings.

As regards the energy and mining sector, President Isaias pointed out that there are plans to upgrade the provision of electricity supply in Bisha, Afhimbol, Sawa, the Dahlak Islands, Assab, Edie, Ti’o and Gelalo, among others.  The President also gave briefings on the steps that need to be taken to handle the mining projects, which are increasingly attracting investors, in a manner that benefit the people and the nation.

He outlined in detail the work programs drawn up towards reinforcing the transport sector through strengthening public transport service, organizational capacity of freight service, improving marine and port services by purchasing additional ships, besides bringing about the necessary change in the operation of the airlines and expanding telephone and related communication services.  Furthermore, President Isaias highlighted the tasks envisaged for the development of the tourism service both in terms of scope and quality.

Concerning water resources and the environment, the President said that endeavors would be stepped up towards streamlining the modalities of use of land plots for agricultural and other purposes, as well as the implementation of potable water supply projects and the construction of water storage infrastructure. Due attention would also be given to the task of properly preserving forest, wildlife, biodiversity and other natural resources, he explained.

In connection with trade and industrial activities, President Isaias pointed out that as part of efforts to achieve food security, the required budget has been allocated towards enabling the existing industrial plants operate in full capacity. Besides, study has been undertaken to establish metal and plastic factories which would play major role in backing up development programs. Assessing the effectiveness of the policies pursued to promote fair trading activities in a manner that stabilizes prices and meets the basic needs of the public, he outlined the future action plan in this regard.

As regards the provision of social services, he noted the commendable achievements registered in efforts to expand basic health service nationwide, and noted the need for stepped-up endeavor to score still more gratifying outcome.  The President equally highlighted the programs charted to promote the development of education, including the upgrading of the skill and living standard of teachers.

He went on to say that the tasks undertaken at substantial expenditure in supporting families of fallen heroes, disabled persons and needy nationals are not to be viewed lightly as far as  alleviating social problems are concerned. In this connection, the President explained that vigorous efforts would continue towards enabling needy citizens become self-supporting.

Moreover, President Isaias shed light on the tasks accomplished and the envisaged ones in strengthening the administration of  justice, defense capability, police and security matters, as well as reorganizing the Ministry of Local Government. He further gave briefings on plans mapped out to reinforce media and diplomatic activities. Reiterating that there would exist no budget constraints for the implementation of all the envisaged action programs, he indicated that a national task force would adopt decision on the proposals to be put forth by all the ministries regarding the restructuring and organization, as well as deployment of manpower.

President Isaias underlined that the nation continues to register impressive progress in diverse domains irrespective of overt and covert acts of hostility and conspiracy on the part of external quarters. In this respect, he declared: “We stand on firm ground at this juncture as the nation continues to march forward in the spheres of reliable socio-economic development as well as potent security and defense capability.”

Following deliberations on the Road-Map President Isaias presented as regards national development program, the Ministerial Cabinet conducted discussion on the development programs so far accomplished and those in the process of implementation.