An association of Zambian concrete block makers has called on government to come up with empowerment programs which will ensure that the block making business is done by Zambians on a large scale.
Association Chairperson Elias Phiri said the concrete making business in Zambia is now being dominated by foreigners who have better and advanced block making equipment.
The association is concerned with the influx of foreigners taking on businesses that are supposed to be run by Zambians. They have unfairly kicked our people out of the business through unfair competition,Mr. Phiri.
Mr. Phiri added that there is need for government to take precaution on what investments foreigners bring to the country as some of the investments put indigenous Zambians out of business.
And, Association Vice Chairperson Felix Lumbongo said there is need for government to empower the block makers with equipment that will help them produce more blocks and match their competition.
It only takes a mixture of sand, water and cement to come up with a concrete block. These are materials that are readily available in the country,Mr. Lumbongo.
Mr. Lumbongo further suggested that foreign investors should consider venturing into businesses that do not leave Zambians jobless.
Meanwhile, a concrete block maker Susan Kalukuluku has appealed to government to help elevate the businesses of block makers to levels and qualities as good as those that foreigners.
The profit that will be made if government empowers our business will not go out of our country, but will stay here and help improve the economy and lives of our people,Mrs. Kalukuluku.
We need good block making equipment which will not only help us make a lot of blocks at once but also offer the best quality.
And, a local contractor Benny Musonda has welcomed the plans by the association to lobby government for funds that will improve the sector.
It is about time that Zambians step up and owned these businesses and not just provide labor at places of block making,he said.
The Association of Zambians in Concrete Block Making is a newly founded association that has taken the responsibility of safeguarding interests of indigenous Zambians in the Block Making Industry.