North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has urged officials to work “unitedly” to boost the economy and solve the problems related to essential commodities like food shortage as the country was facing a “grim situation.”

Kim appealed Sunday during his speech to mark the 76th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, the official KCNA news agency said.

“Socialism is what keeps us alive and it represents our life and future,” Kim said, emphasizing the need to pay attention to strengthening education in faith in socialism.

It is the first time that the leader has delivered a speech on the part raising day since he took power after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011.