Speech Archives

29/10/2014: MESSAGE ON THE STATE OF THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY JOSÉ EDUARDO DOS SANTOS, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ANGOLA

MESSAGE ON THE STATE OF THE NATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY JOSÃ EDUARDO DOS SANTOS, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ANGOLA

Luanda, October 15, 2014

PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

DEAR MEMBERS,

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

DEAR COMPATRIOTS,

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

The peace consolidate every day thanks to the spirit of tolerance, understanding, reconciliation and forgiveness of all Angolans, that regardless of their political affiliation, religious belief or region forever turned the page of war and have peace as the greatest good of the nation to preserve.

Continue to consolidate peace and national unity and work to achieve social inclusion, progress and well-being of all, is the common desire of all who want to build a democratic, modern and prosperous Angola.

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

Our efforts are now directed towards the consolidation of democratic institutions, where, say in good truth, we note great progress. Right here in the House of Laws the political debate is more frequent in quality and quantity and constructive criticism is overcoming the sterile discussion without clear objectives.

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

The Judiciary is undertaking a major reform of the Justice and Law and the Reform and the Courts. These efforts are also aimed at improving the political coexistence, respect for diversity and the preservation of the freedoms, rights and guarantees of citizens.

The civil society and the various non-state actors multiply its initiatives. The Youth Forum, the Forum of Rural Women and even the National Festival of Culture (FENACULT) are examples of the creation of new spaces 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 Census of Population and Housing, after the country's independence. It was a successful, great and complex achievement that we should all be proud.

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

The province of Luanda concentrates 26.7% (percent) of the population, which is six and a half million inhabitants. Here are 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 resident population in the country.

The Bengo province recorded the lowest number of residents with 1% (percent) of the population. Here are five other provinces with less than 3 percent of the national population, particularly those of Cuanza-Norte, Namibe, Zaire, Cuando Cubango and Lunda-Sul population. These six focus provinces only 11% (percent) of the population.

For long time we were anxious for these results. We finally have a good foundation to prepare a National Population Policy and the National Policy on Ordering Planning and Territorial Development, which are essential for studying the pathways that allow us to achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan.

The huge concentration of population in the capital became imperative to adopt a new model of administrative decentralization and local administration differentiated from other provinces, to meet its growing problems of planning, sanitation, urban mobility, public order and combating 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 its macroeconomic management has been conducted with the necessary attention, to ensure compliance with the indicators set out in the 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 lower production at ten percent of the programmed, which, as you know, is 1 million and 815,000 barrels/day. We hope to begin reverse this trend next year.

This year, as you are aware, the economies of developed countries will certainly not meet the forecast growth of 1.8% (percent). Some medium development countries also experience difficulties and global demand for oil is falling, so there is an excess of the product in 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 projected to decrease 3.5% (percent). The non-oil production, in contrast, is expected to grow 8.2% (percent), but still insufficient to offset the effect of declining oil production. Therefore, the rate of GDP growth predicted at the beginning of the year was 6.7% (percent), may fall slightly.

The drop in oil revenue is naturally 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 increased revenue collection in the non-oil sector.

On the other hand, there is an ongoing Tax Reform, through which taxes will be reduced, but increased its base and greater efficiency in collection of tax revenue.

With this objective, the Government has recently approved the creation of the General Tax Administration, unifying in a single organ of Government existing services Customs 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 at that time, the shares that the Executive should implement 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. Diversify economic activity and production, in particular, is therefore a critical issue, an urgent and pressing task, determining our future and a more effective national independence.

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

The great challenge that arises before us all is the growth and we define as a strategy to achieve sustained growth for several years, rehabilitation, modernization and development of economic and social infrastructure, promotion and realization of public investment and private training, qualification and adequate human resource management as well as the adoption of a labor policy and objective remuneration.

Thus, they are running eleven Projects Structuring programs, which everyone knows and which seek to create the conditions for our economy more competitive and can, from the second half of 2016, produce more and better goods and services many competing with the region's economies and growing and better distribute national wealth.

In the field of roads, for example, we will achieve the rehabilitation, construction of about 42 thousand kilometers of roads in the core network, 593 kilometers in secondary network and 776 kilometers in tertiary roads. The rehabilitation and construction of ports, airports and transportation terminals in the capital and in the provinces, continues.

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

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

For this reason, we have in this area a vast and ambitious development program that goes from the infrastructure, including widespread fiber optic international submarine cables to the system to the telecommunications satellite, with AngoSat program (Angolan satellite) under construction.

In energy, there is an ongoing expansion of Cambambe dam, dam construction Lauca and the Combined Cycle Soyo, which will allow us to increase the installed capacity of about two thousand 162 megawatts to the current 5,000 Central megawatts by 2017, which is a huge task in any part of the world.

Simultaneously, the system of transmission and distribution of electrical energy will be expanded to make this right available to the public and enterprises.

We also continue to implement the Water for All Program, which aims to benefit at the end of this year 65 percent of the population with safe water. A major priority is to ensure the water supply to the people most affected by drought and materialize the construction projects of water supply systems to 132 municipality capital cities.

In Luanda, where there is a large concentration of population, are provided two large new systems of collection, treatment and distribution of water. Are Bita and Quilonga Great projects, as well as the program of domiciliary connections. These projects will only be completed in 2016 or 2017, so until then we have to find an interim solution tanks and fountains to put as close as possible to families who do not have water piped drinking water.

DEAR MEMBERS,

Once these conditions are met it will be easier to promote and attract Angolan private investment and foreign to the productive sector in order to increase production, reduce imports and increase exports of non-oil sector and to ensure growth and employment.

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

In this context, trade is essential and of course its main vocation is the distribution and circulation of national production. For this reason, the Program Expansion of Wholesale and Retail Trade Network have 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, unusual in our continent, encourages us to continue to achieve its total eradication. Of the many factors that relies on this objective, the principal is a decent income in each one activity, on their own or that of others, in private or public sector.

This activity should preferably be productive and contribute to the growth of jobs and the expansion of national wealth. The policy of income redistribution, at the tax level, social security, welfare spending and development aid sector, are also an essential tool to reduce poverty and promote a more just and equitable society.

Thus, in this context, Former Combatants and Motherland Veterans, as well as ex- servicemen demobilized from the war in Angola and the disabled will have reinforced budgets allocation to them and enriched their programs 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, after 2002 our country, in the set of 187 countries surveyed, is the third highest annual growth of the Human Development Index with 2% (percent) rate, only being surpassed by Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Although we still have a long and arduous road ahead, the country has conditions to ascend in two decades the group of countries with High Human Development.

The foundations are being built in this direction, since 2000 the life expectancy at birth of an Angolan was only 45.2 years and in 2013 increased to 51.9 years. I.e., in just 13 years we have added nearly seven years to life expectancy.

For this encouraging evolution contributed much progress seen in education and health levels of our population. At this time, the adult literacy rate reached 73 percent, while ten years ago was not enough even to 50 percent.

Last year we had 636 000 students in literacy programs. In Special Education had almost 27 thousand students and Teaching Preschool we are achieving 600 000 students; in elementary education has gone beyond the 5 million students, with a gross schooling rate of 140 percent, almost three times that seen in 2000.

The peace allowed extending 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 of the order of 217 000, with a gross schooling rate of 10 percent, which almost quadrupled the level of 2000.

This quantitative real 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 objective in high school courses and professional assessment in particular, and in higher education, so we do not form young people who cannot work due to lack of skills or they end up accepting underemployment.

Despite these advances, we find that there are still thousands of children out of the education system. The reasons are the lack of classrooms or the existence of rooms in poor conditions, and the lack of well-trained teachers.

This situation 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 training more than 126,000 teachers, to meet the number of students, as result of the increased number of schools.

Given the current economic and financial difficult and uncertain situation, caused by the fall in oil prices, unfortunately the Plan can no longer be run in three years, as we intended, but it may only be implemented over a period of five to ten years.

DEAR MEMBERS,

The results achieved in the Human Development Index also express the progress in health status. 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 around 120 per thousand this time. 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 have yet to expend efforts to boost the fight against tuberculosis, the spread of HIV-AIDS, the incidence of trypanosomiasis, the proliferation of fake drugs medicines or even very high number of unattended births by qualified personnel.

DEAR MEMBERS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

The municipal elections are on the political agenda of all parties and have sparked the most debate alight and several dissertations. Indeed, the Constitution says that the competent state bodies, including the Parliament, determine by law the opportunity of its creation, the gradual extension of its powers, the determination of guardianship of merit and the transience of the Local State Administration and local authorities.

There are several issues that these agencies have to treat until we meet the conditions for the creation of the autarchies. A work team consists of experienced jurists identified at least the following:

Adequacy of economic technical human resources, financial, and material;

Territorial division, taking into account the cultural, social, economic and demographic specifics of each area that includes the municipality;

Reconcile Local State Administration and Local Government;

Configuring local representative bodies, their powers, duties and powers;

The system of electing local representatives;

Definition of local funding model;

Co-existence in the same territorial space of Local State Administration and Local Government services;

As can be concluded, negotiation and discussion of legislative and legal legitimacy for the adequacy of municipal diplomas process will take time.

But the discussion of the revision of electoral laws that were based on the General Elections of 2012, as you know, took more than a year. Added to this there is the process of electoral registration for the General Elections of 2017, as well as for local elections.

In the unofficial register provided in the Constitution it cannot be done until 2017, for several reasons that the Executive Branch has submitted for consideration and decision of the National Assembly. We will certainly opt for the administrative record, which also took over a year to accomplish for the general elections of 2012. Therefore, as you can see the tasks we have yet to develop, are still immense.

I always prefer to be realistic and pragmatic. I prefer to have a schedule of tasks that can effectively be delivered. Then ask yourself, is by the year 2017 that we, first, be able to fit the electoral legislation and update the electoral register for holding General Elections and, secondly, to devise legislation to Local Government and to the realization the Local Elections? It is a matter for consideration.

Therefore, they are very serious matters to consider and to clarify the timing of tasks to accomplish 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 not to stumble!

I think we should work more united and in a coherent way 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, this House Laws define first the schedule of the tasks designed 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 developing process in a global and regional context of increasing instability, both at the political and military-level security, both economic and public health level.

This year is sadly marked by the reappearance and rapid spread of the Ebola virus, which has caused thousands of deaths in our continent. Internally appropriate measures to prevent and control this pandemic were taken, which requires combined efforts of all governments of the world.

Moreover, in the current year have multiplied sources of tension and disruption in several areas of the world have emerged new armed conflict with a strong impact on our region. The spread of these conflicts is to lead to military confrontation with dialogue processes and complicated negotiation.

The Executive Branch holds the presidency of the International Committee of the Great Lakes region have been engaged in finding solutions, both bilaterally and multilaterally, as even within the Security Council 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. Falls within the peacekeeping effort the readiness expressed by our Government to integrate the forces of UN Peacekeeping, under the framework of MINUSCA (UN Mission to the Central African Republic), 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 recognition internationally of the role of Angola as a strategic partner to build peace and stability in Africa.

For this reason, most countries in the international community welcome to be natural and support the candidacy of Angola 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 are conducted successfully and that its members engage increasingly in the best interests of the Angolan people.

LONG LIFE ANGOLA!