Government has expressed disappointment at the on-going closure of Spar-Zambia Limited outlets countrywide after over 16 years of operating in the country.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma said the decision by Spar Zambia Limited to close down business in the country will negate the growth of the economy and the general welfare of the chain stores’ employees.
Mr. Yaluma said in Lusaka today that Spar Zambia and other similar stores in the retail sector play a significant role in stimulating value-chains development, job creation and in contributing to the government treasury through remitting various taxes.
“Spar Zambia has over the last decade of operating on the local market established an admirable brand for itself among the Zambian consumers of which typically everyone would desire to safeguard in the interest of economic stability,” he said.
The Commerce Minister disclosed that government has therefore taken steps to explore strategies that could help remedy the situation in order to avert potential material injury to the retail sector and the economy.
He said government has, through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), already engaged Spar Zambia and other potential investors to explore corporate finance strategies on how to manage a smooth exist of the chain store from the Zambian market.
“We are working smart to ensure that the closure of Spar outlets does not scare other chain stores nor limit competition in the retail sector.”
“We therefore call upon all concerned stakeholders to remain calm as government through the Ministry pursues remedial measures anchored on home-grown solutions for sustainability and inclusive participation,” he explained.
Mr. Yaluma further called on the private sector and other stakeholders on the market to promote enhanced integration of local value chains and embrace a hybrid framework which is characterized by innovation and partnerships so as to guarantees cost efficiency.
“It is, therefore, the Ministry’s desire that the private sector undertakes to embrace the Proudly Zambian Campaign (PZC) and consummate business partnerships to either bridge the gap left by those entities exiting the market or utilize the programme as a foundation for innovative business partnerships anchored on home-grown solutions,” he said.
Mr. Yaluma added that his ministry was ready to provide the necessary support to ensure that there were more viable local chain stores from within Zambian communities that support the local producers and traders.
In March this year, Spar Zambia Limited country manager, Ken Darby announced the closure of Spar Arcades outlet in Lusaka citing the non-viability of the business.
Since then, a number of Spar Zambia outlets such as Garden House and Downtown, have been shut, sending fears and anxiety among the chain store workers.