FINANCE Minister Alexander Chikwanda has said societies which have weak cultural links are open for disintegration and stagnation in development.
Mr Chikwanda said the Government had avoided this by ensuring that Zambians lived as one through strong cultural linkages.
He was speaking when he officiated at the Tuwimba traditional ceremony of the Nsenga people in Nyimba District on Saturday.
He said the Government considered traditional ceremonies as crucial cultural activities at the core of the existence of communities.
"Traditional ceremonies do not only remind us about our origins, norms and values but also contribute greatly to the promotion of national unity, peace and harmony in our country," he said.
He said the Government appreciated the important role traditional ceremonies play in the development of the country.
Mr Chikwanda said the Government believed that without the involvement of traditional leaders, development efforts would fall short of expectations.
"For development to be meaningful, it has to benefit the grassroots most of whom are in settlements overseen by traditional leaders," he said.
Mr Chikwanda said the Government applauded the significant role traditional leaders played in ensuring effective governance of chiefdoms.
He said traditional leaders clearly understood the needs of their subjects and were aware of priority areas where Government should target development.
Meanwhile, the Government has given Nyimba District hospital two brand new ambulances to improve service delivery.
Mr Chikwanda warned against misuse of the ambulances.
"I wish to take this opportunity to warn that Government will no longer tolerate the misdirection of Government resources to unintended uses.
"The ambulances sent to Nyimba by the ministry of Health headquarters are for improved patient service and care, not for constant trips out of town for workshops and seminars," he said.
He said six health posts in Nyimba and Petauke would be constructed while a new district hospital was under construction at a cost of K9.2 million.
He said in an effort to develop Nyimba District, the Government had built two secondary schools in the area and was constructing a primary school at Nsangano.
Mr Chikwanda said in Petauke, four secondary schools had been put up, while numerous primary schools were being built.
He said other projects the Government was implementing in the area included the rehabilitation works on Mwape-Nyimba road, T4, Ndake-M'sima road, Hofmeyer-Zibanibana road, Nyimba-Matonje road and Vizimumba-Mambo road.
He said township roads and roads leading to palaces in the district had been rehabilitated while the contractor working on Great East Road was on site.