• Government is eager to work with the private sector.
• Zambia’s economic growth rate fell from 1.4 percent in 2019 to a negative growth of 2.8% in 2020.
• Zambia Association of Manufactures is a dependable strategic partner in the development agenda.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry has pledged government’s commitment to supporting local content.
Officiating at the Local Content Conference organized by Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM), Chipoka Mulenga said government is eager to work with the private sector by developing policies that will create a conducive environment for business to thrive.
Mr. Chipoka however advised the private sector to be innovative and make use of the young minds, as they are a great source for innovations and renewed energy that Zambia requires to revive the economy, whose growth rate from 1.4 percent in 2019 to a negative growth of 2.8% in 2020 due to Covid-19.
“If we look back, we can all recall that the past two years have been extremely difficult for Zambia and the world economy at large. The world almost halted economic activities which has lead into an economic recession as result of the covid-19 pandemic.”
“During this period, Zambia’s economic growth rate fell from 1.4 percent in 2019 to a negative growth of 2.8% in 2020 and this is a huge fall for smaller economies like Zambia,” he said.
He noted that Zambia Association of Manufactures is a dependable strategic partner in the development agenda because it is playing an important role of spearheading the industrial development process.
“I want to thank the umbrella body for the manufacturing sector, the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) for organizing this business conference that brings together key drivers of the economy to discuss pertinent issues in and around our abundant natural resources, strengths and opportunities, and how best we can utilize them or other words, “how we can leverage on what is available as our local content.”
Mr. Chipoka assured the stakeholders that government will revise and work with them to put in place what works for the private sector.
He emphasized the need for the association to see local content in not only raw material and producing locally, but to see the Zambian people as aresources.
“I want to encourage the Association to, therefore, consider developing out local human resource by creating partnerships with schools to develop internship programs that will develop the young people as a resource as well as use them in your industries as a local content. I encourage the retailer to also do the same.”
“My Ministry will work with the Ministry of Labour to create an environment that allows for the young human resource to be easily used in your processes as a component of local content.”
And Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) President Ezekiel Sekele noted that the sector is only contributing 8 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic product (GDP), which is less than its real potential.
“The Manufacturing sector is contributing less than its real potential, I would say we are underperforming. We are not performing to the level that we should.”
If we are to achieve the 2030 vision for the manufacturing sector, value addition should be prioritized. 2030 vision talks about 30 percent contribution to the GDP but manufacturing sector contribution to the GDP is now sitting at 8 percent, which is not the real potential,” he noted.
Mr. Sekele called on the Minister to ensure consistent dialogue between government and the private sector.
“We ask you to push for an enabling and stable macro-economic environment, ensure fiscal discipline. There is also need to look at a regulatory framework and removing all those barriers. The cost of doing business remains a challenge that we urge you working together with the Ministry of Finance to look into this,” he stated.