Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry says Government attaches great importance to increasing exports to regional, continental and global markets.
Speaking during the Virtual Top Exporters Meeting, Mushuma Mulenga stated that Zambia has put in place a number of policies aimed at transforming the country into a prosperous middle-income industrialized economy by 2030.
Mr. Mulenga said to promote Trade and investment, government in 2006 combined five former stand-alone institutions to establish the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) which has facilitated close to USD 24 billion worth of Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) to date.
He however observed that despite the notable gains, the share of non-traditional exports to total exports has remained at only 30%, but that government developed the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) to ensure that the share of NTES to total exports is increased to 50%.
“Further the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry has developed a Trade Policy that was launched in 2018 with the view of expanding trade prospects.
In an effort to implement the Trade Policy, the Ministry has also developed the Zambia National Export Strategy aimed at promoting Zambia‘s products globally.”
“The Zambia Development Agency plays an important role in implementing Government’s trade agenda and to this effect, the Agency has developed the Export Strategic focus called the N8 + 1 aimed at accessing all the regional markets plus South Africa,” Mr. Mulenga said.
Mr. Mushuma stated that government recognizes the negative impact COVID-19 has had on exporters as it has limited their ability to export, hence the Top Exporters Meeting is aimed at formulating a structured dialogue with the private sector to identify critical issues and come up with a Road Map.
“In this meeting, I expect to hear from yourselves the level of Covid-19 impact to your business enterprises. Arising from your input, the Government will put in place measures to address the negative impact so that we remain on our trajectory to increase the NTES.
“Let me urge you to feel free to share any other constraint affecting exports apart from COVID-19. My office remains open at any time for you to share any challenges and issues that could be of use to enhance the Government’s efforts to increase NTES,” he added.
Speaking at the same meeting, Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Acting Director General Mukula Makasa said Exports are a critical component of the trade policy developed in 2018 and they have also been affected by Covid-19 and other structural challenges of the economy.
Meanwhile, Zambia Association of Manufactures (ZAM) Chief Executive Officer Florence Mulenga disclosed that production has become slow due to disruptions in the supply chain, such as the high exchange rate which has affected the cost of inputs.