Message from President of the Republic of Angola

PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

DEAR MEMBERS,

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

DEAR COMPATRIOTS,

It is always with renewed pleasure that I pronounce the Message on the State of the Nation before the National Assembly and my pleasure is even greater when I can affirm today, before all of you, that the country's political situation is stable.

The peace is consolidating every day thanks to the spirit of tolerance, understanding, reconciliation and forgiveness of all Angolans, who, regardless of their political affiliation, religious belief or region of origin managed to definitely turn over a new leaf on the war and who now consider peace to be the most precious possession of the nation, which must be preserved.

To keep consolidating peace and national unity to achieve social integration, progress and well-being for all, is the common desire of all who want to build a democratic, modern and prosperous Angola.

The political parties, the civil society and the churches encourage awareness and education for peace and democracy campaigns, based on the values ​​of freedom, mutual respect and the respect of the opinion of others, tolerance, social harmony, fraternity and solidarity.

Our efforts are now focusing on the consolidation of the democratic institutions, which, as we can state with a clear conscience, have made a huge step forward. Right here, in the House of Laws, the political debate is more frequent, the constructive criticism has a better quality and is more general, leaving behind the earlier sterile, clearly aimless discussions.

The legislative output has also increased as well as the concern to meet the expectations of the citizens. The Government tries to follow the same path, by improving its organization and functioning, to provide better public services to the people.

At the moment, the Judiciary is undertaking a major reform of the legal system, the law and the tribunals. These efforts are also aimed at improving the political coexistence, by respecting the diversity and the preservation of the liberties, guarantees and rights of the citizens.

The civil society and the various non-governmental actors multiply their initiatives. The Youth Forum, the Forum of Rural Women and even the National Festival of Culture (FENACULT) are examples of the creation of new platforms for dialogue and consultation or affirmation of our cultural identity, which will be continued in the coming years.

DEAR PARLIAMENTARIANS,

Last May we held the first General Population and Housing Census, after the country's independence. It was an extraordinary and complex project we have realized and we can be proud of it.

The first preliminary results tell us that the country has 24 million and 300,000 inhabitants, 52 percent of it female. Therefore, women clearly constitute the majority of the population of Angola.

The province of Luanda concentrates 26.7% (percent) of the population, that means six and a half million inhabitants. Then follow the provinces of Huíla with 10 percent, Benguela and Huambo with 8 percent each, Kwanza-Sul with 7 percent, Bié and Uíge with 6 percent each. These seven provinces concentrate 72% (percent) of the total population residing in the country.

The Bengo province recorded the lowest number of residents with 1% (percent) of the population. We have five other provinces with less than 3 percent of the national population, in particular Cuanza-Norte, Namibe, Zaire, Cuando Cubango and Lunda-Sul. These last six provinces only comprise 11% (percent) of the population.

We have been waiting for these results for a long time. We finally have a good foundation to map out a National Population Policy and a National Territorial Planning and Development Policy, which are essential to study the ways of how to achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan.

The huge concentration of the population in the capital made it imperative to adopt a new model of administrative and local decentralization, different from the one in other provinces, in order to meet its growing problems of planning, sanitation, urban mobility, public order, as well as combatting increasing crime and illegal immigration.

DEAR PARLAMENTARIANS,

If it is true that peace and political stability are precious commodities, the fact remains that we must also ensure economic stability, without which much can be lost.

The economic and social situation in the country is stable and their macroeconomic management has been conducted with the necessary attention, to ensure compliance with the indicators set out in the General National Budget 2014, approved by this august Assembly.

The inflation rate that in 2013 was 7.7% (percent), the lowest ever, stood in the first half of this year at 6.9% (percent). Moreover, the exchange rate of the national currency has remained stable.

In 2013 and the first half of 2014, tax revenues from the oil sector declined slightly due to a production ten percent lower than scheduled, which, as you know, is 1 million and 815,000 barrels/day. We plan to begin to reverse this trend next year.

This year, as you are aware, the economies of the developed countries will certainly not meet the growth forecast amounting to 1.8 % (percent). Some countries with medium development also experience difficulties and global demand for oil is decreasing, creating an excess of the product on the international market.

For this reason, the price of crude oil is down since last June and is now oscillating between 81 and 85 dollars per barrel, while the price of reference with which we calculated the National State Budget (OGE) 2014 is $ 98 per barrel.

Thus, the Petroleum Gross Domestic Product is projected to decrease by 3.5% (percent). The non-oil production, in contrast, is expected to grow by 8.2% (percent), which is still insufficient to offset the effect of the decreasing oil production. Therefore, the 6.7% (percent) GDP growth rate, envisaged at the beginning of the year, may decrease slightly.

Of course, the drop in oil revenue is already conditioning the public revenues and this will require that measures be taken to ensure more rational spending until the end of this year and better raising on revenue in the non-oil sector.

On the other hand, the Fiscal Reform is underway. This reform will result in reduced taxes, but an increased tax base also, as well as a greater efficiency in tax revenue collection.

With this objective, the Government has recently approved the creation of the General Tax Administration, unifying in a single organ the public administration, the present Customs Services and the National Directorate of Taxes.

Until the end of October I will submit for your consideration the proposed State Budget for the year 2015 and will also explain in detail the actions required by the Government in order to maintain macroeconomic stability in an uncertain and difficult international context.

DEAR MEMBERS,

DEAR COMPATRIOTS,

The sustainability of our development presupposes the need to reduce the current dependence of our economy from crude oil. Diversifying economic activity and production, in particular, is therefore a fundamental issue, an urgent and pressing task, determining our future and a more effective national independence.

In 2013, we adopted the National Development Plan, the general objectives of which are stability, growth and employment. As we have seen, the political and social stability and the macroeconomic stability are assured.

The great challenge for us all will be the growth. The strategy we have outlined to achieve sustained growth for several years is based on the rehabilitation, modernization and development of the economic and social infrastructure, on the promotion and realization of private and public investments and on the training, qualification and adequate management of the human resources, as well as on adopting a labor policy and an objective remuneration policy.

Thus, we have launched eleven Structuring Projects you all know and which aim at creating the necessary conditions for our economy to become more competitive and which will, from the second half of 2016 onward, produce more and better goods and services. This will enable us to compete with the region's economies and to increase and better distribute national wealth.

Regarding the road system, for example, we will achieve the rehabilitation and the construction of about 1.042 thousand kilometers of roads in the principal road system, 593 kilometers in secondary and 776 kilometers in tertiary roads. We will continue the rehabilitation and construction of the ports, airports and transportation terminals in the capital and in the provinces.

Gradually and prudently, we will begin to build the National Logistics Platform Network, which will include different infrastructures and transportation systems. Priority will be given to the biggest boarder trade areas, such as Luvo in the province of Zaire; Luau, in Moxico province; Santa Clara in Cunene and Massabi in Cabinda, which will allow us to increase our influence in neighboring countries,  strengthen our security and restrain illegal immigration.

An efficient and operating telecommunications system is not only a key factor in integration and diversification of the economy and the national territory, but also an instrument of national independence and sovereignty, of welfare of the citizens and of business competitiveness in an increasingly global and interdependent world.

For this reason, we have set up a vast and ambitious development program which covers the infrastructure - including the generalization of the fiber optic in the form of international submarine cables -, as well as the telecommunications through satellite, thanks to the AngoSat program (Angolan satellite) under construction.

In the energy sector, the expansion of the Cambambe dam is underway, as well as the Lauca dam construction and the Soyo Combined Cycle, which will allow us to increase the actually installed capacity of appr. two thousand 162 megawatts to 5,000 megawatts by 2017, which represents a huge task for any country of the world.

Simultaneously, we will develop the electrical energy transmission and distribution system, so as to make this even more accessible to the public and the enterprises.

We also continue to implement the Water for All Program, which aims to provide, by the end of this year, drinking water for 65 percent of the population. One of our major priorities is to ensure the water supply to the people most affected by drought and materialize the construction projects of water supply systems for 132 municipalities.

In Luanda, where the concentration of the population is very high, two new large scale water collection, treatment and distribution systems are planned. These are the Bita and Quilonga Grande projects, as well as the home connections program. These projects will only be completed in 2016 or 2017, so until then we have to find an interim solution based on reservoirs and fountains to store the drinking water, to be installed as close as possible to the homes of the families who do not have piped drinking water.

DEAR MEMBERS,

Once these requirements are implemented, it will be easier to encourage and attract Angolan and foreign private investments to the productive sector in order to increase production, reduce imports and increase exports in the non-oil sector and to ensure growth and employment.

Actually, even in the current circumstances, the Government has defined a set of priority projects, which are the Targeted Programs for the productive chains of cement, textiles, drinks, sugar, grain silos and fodder, the poultry production and the production of eggs and meat, continental-scale fisheries and aquaculture.

In this context, commercial activity is essential of course, and it will mainly focus on distribution and circulation of the national products. To this effect, the Program to Expand the Wholesale and Retail Trade Network has been approved in the cities and in the countryside. 

DEAR PARLAMENTARIANS,

According to independent studies, about half of Angola's population left the threshold of absolute poverty. Several international institutions emphasize the progress made by our country, revealing that the percentage of Angolans with less than two dollars/day decreased from 92% (percent) in 2000 to 54% (percent) in 2014.

This pace of poverty reduction, quite unusual on our continent, encourages us to keep up with  our efforts to achieve its total eradication. This objective depends on many factors, the main one being a decent income after the work made, in every activity, on one’s own account or on that of others, in the private or public sector.

Preferably, this activity should be productive and contribute to the increase of jobs offered and to the increase of national wealth. The policy of income redistribution, at the tax level, at social security level, as well as regarding the welfare and development aid expenditures, is also an essential tool to reduce poverty and promote a more just and equitable society.

Thus, in this context, the budget allocation for Former Combatants and Motherland Veterans, as well as ex- servicemen demobilized from the war in Angola and the disabled will be revised and increased and the programs tailored for them will be enriched with new support measures and social assistance.

The results of these policies in Angola are expressed in the 2014 Report on Human Development prepared by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Indeed, since 2002 our country has shown the third highest annual growth on the Human Development Index, out of 187 countries surveyed: a 2% (percent) rate, only being surpassed by Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Although we still have a long and arduous road ahead, the country’s conditions would allow Angola to ascend, within two decades, to the group of countries with High Human Development.

To this effect, we have already begun to lay the foundations, since in the year 2000 the life expectancy of an Angolan at birth was only 45.2 years and by 2013 it has reached 51.9 years. This means that in just 13 years we have added nearly seven years to life expectancy.

This encouraging development is essentially due to the progress of our population observed in the education and sanitary fields. At this moment, the adult literacy rate has reached 73 percent, while ten years ago it was not even 50 percent.

Last year we had 636 000 students in literacy programs. In Special Education we had almost 27 thousand students and in Preschool Teaching we will teach around

600 000 students; elementary education has exceeded 5 million students, with a gross schooling rate of 140 percent, which is almost three times that of the rate in 2000.

Peace has allowed to extend education to the entire country. Therefore, in secondary education, we have more than one million students. And finally, in Higher Education, the number of students was around 217 000, with a gross schooling rate of 10 percent, which almost quadrupled the level of 2000.

This veritable quantitative revolution now needs a qualitative revolution converged with the priorities of our development. We need more and better teachers, better teaching methods and more rigorous objectives in high school courses and professional assessment, in particular in secondary and professional education, as well as in higher education, so we do not form young people who cannot work due to lack of skills or who end up accepting underemployment.

Despite these developments we find that there are still thousands of children outside the education system. The reasons are the lack of classrooms or the precarious state some of them are in,  as well as the lack of adequately  qualified teachers.

This situation has led the Government to prepare a contingency plan with an estimated budget of 1 trillion kwanza, foreseeing the construction of about 63 000 classrooms and the training of more than 126 000 teachers, to meet the challenge and the needs of the students, as a result of the increased number of schools.

Given the current economic and financial situation, which is difficult and uncertain at the same time due to the fall in oil prices, unfortunately, said Plan cannot be carried out in three years, as intended. But it can certainly be implemented within a period of five to ten years.

DEAR MEMBERS,

The results achieved according to the Human Development Index also express the progress registered in the field of healthcare. The infant mortality rate is less than 100 per thousand live births, while this figure exceeded 170 per thousand live births in 2000.

The mortality rate of children under five fell from 300 per thousand live births in the early 2000s to the actually approximately 120 per thousand. The maternal mortality rate decreased from 1400 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births to less than 300 in every 100 000. Also the rate of morbidity due to malaria fell from 25 to 15 percent.

We recognize, however, that despite these remarkable achievements we have yet to multiply our efforts to fight with more efficiency against tuberculosis, the spread of HIV-AIDS, the incidence of trypanosomiasis, the proliferation of fake medications or the much too high number of births unattended by qualified personnel.

DEAR MEMBERS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

The municipal elections are on the political agenda of all parties and have prompted heated debate and the most varied discussions. Indeed, the Constitution of the Republic says that the competent State bodies, including the Parliament, determine by law the possibility of their establishment, the gradual extension of their power, the intensity of the guardianship of merit and the transitivity between the Local State Administration and the local municipalities.

There are several issues that these organs have to tackle until we meet the conditions required to establish these municipalities. A work team consisting of experienced jurists has identified the following issues to begin with:

1.      Concordance of economic, financial, technical, material and human resources;

2.      Territorial division, taking into account the cultural, social, economic and demographic characteristics of each area covered by the municipality;

3.      Coherence between Local State Administration and Local Government;

4.      Configuring local representative bodies, their powers, duties and competencies;

5.      The system of electing local representatives;

6.      The definition of the local financing model;

7.      Co-existence of Local State Administration and Local Government services , on the same territory,

Consequently, the negotiations and the discussion on legislative texts in order to legitimate and adapt the municipal process will take time.

Nevertheless, as you know, the discussion on the revision of the electoral legislation, which served as a basis for the General Elections of 2012, took more than one year. We have to add to this the process of electoral census for the General Elections of 2017, as well as for the municipal elections.

The unofficial census scheduled by the Constitution cannot be carried out before 2017, for several reasons, already submitted by the Government to the National Assembly for consideration and approval. We will certainly opt for the administrative census which also took over a year for the General Elections of 2012. Therefore, as you can see, there is an enormous amount of tasks we have yet to accomplish.

I always prefer to be realistic and pragmatic. I prefer to have a schedule of tasks that can be carried out effectively. The question is: will we be able, until 2017 in a first instance, to adopt the electoral legislation and to update the electoral census for the General Elections to be held, and after this, in a second instance, to devise legislation for the Local Government and the Municipal Elections? It is a matter for serious consideration.

Therefore, these are very serious matters to consider and to clarify the scheduling of the tasks to be accomplished in the two electoral processes. I think we all want to take firm steps forward to deepen our democratic process, but it is best to avoid the rush so as not to stumble!

I think we should work in a more united and coherent way in order to achieve this great desire of Angolans, instead of turning this issue into a subject of controversy and partisan political rhetoric. I suggest that here, in this House of the Laws we begin to outline the schedule of the tasks to be done to achieve the two electoral processes and then move to action.

DEAR MEMBERS,

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

The Republic of Angola is consolidating its development in a global and regional context of increasing instability, both at the politico-military and security level as in the field of economy and public health.

Unfortunately, this year will be sadly catalogued by the reappearance and rapid spread of the Ebola virus, which has caused thousands of deaths on our continent. Internally, appropriate measures to prevent and control this pandemic were taken, which requires combined efforts of all Governments of the world.

Moreover, the zones of tension and rupture have multiplied in the current year in several areas of the world and new armed conflicts with a strong impact have emerged in our region. The spread of these conflicts leads to military confrontations, where dialogue processes and negotiations have difficulty finding their way.

The Angolan Government holds the presidency of the International Committee of the Great Lakes Region, and has engaged in finding solutions, both bilaterally and multilaterally, and even within the Security Council of the United Nations and the UN Peace and Security Council of the African Union.

Angola has reaffirmed its readiness to participate in these processes, supporting and promoting dialogue and peace, particularly in Central Africa and the Great Lakes Region. The readiness expressed by our Government to integrate the UN Peacekeeping forces under the framework of MINUSCA (UN Mission for the Central African Republic), is part of the peacekeeping effort, thus satisfying the request made ​​by the President of the republic of that sister nation.

This stance of promoting peace and security has led to a growing international recognition of the role of Angola as a strategic partner to build peace and stability in Africa.

It is for this reason that most countries of the international community find it natural and welcome to support the candidacy of Angola to become Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council for the biennium 2015-2016.

MR. PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

DEAR MEMBERS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

I conclude by wishing that the works of the new parliamentary year of this Legislature be conducted successfully and that its members engage increasingly in the best interests of the Angolan people.

LONG LIFE ANGOLA!

 

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