GOVT INTENSIFIES PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT

Zambeef Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Walter Roodt has welcomed government’s initiative and renewed drive to grow the local manufacturing base and intensify its engagement with the private sector.

Mr. Roodt said there is need for policy consistency and government backing so as to carry on with the business and build more value chains.

We are part and parcel of the nation as we continue developing the food supply chain. We are not going anywhere and are looking for opportunities to invest within the realities of available financing; the opportunities are there and we as businesses need to harness them,”

Mr. Roodt said

Mr. Roodt also said that regulatory bodies such as the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) play a vital role in securing local industries, adding that there is need for industries to rally behind the standard bodies, as quality compliance is key in securing local as well as export markets.

He further called on government and industry stakeholders to protect the base of manufacturing so that Zambia can effectively target export markets and ensure that the cost of production is in line worldwide.

Meanwhile, Zamleather General Manager Richard Franklin said the leather and footwear manufacturing sector needs support from the government through the Public Procurement Act to better access the market of government procurement itself.

We feel there are still further opportunities to make the leather and footwear sector more competitive against imported products. We’ve got a huge amount of potential to grow, not only the footwear sector but the leather sector at large. It is a very labor-intensive industry and therefore it is an industry that needs to be given a lot of attention to really see its potential,”

Mr. Franklin said.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Mushuma Mulenga, with other delegates, toured Zambeef Products and Zamleather division this week to gain a deeper appreciation of the opportunities and challenges facing the private sector in accessing local and regional markets.

As a ministry, we are geared to support local industry and hence, we have taken a more proactive approach. The model that Zambeef is using is a very good model because it speaks of what government is doing to increase market access for local producers,”

Mr. Mulenga said.

The Permanent Secretary also conveyed government’s commitment to implementing progressive policies that would see the sector grow.

The private sector is the engine of growth for this economy and as a ministry, we believe in that 100 per cent; it must be supported and that is where our jobs will be created,”

he said.

Further, acting Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Acting Director General Mukula Makasa, reaffirmed Mr. Mulenga’s statement saying that the ministry struggles to bring in imports and that companies such as Zambeef and other players on the market should take advantage of those gaps and supply the missing products.

Economic transformation is within ourselves; partnership is very critical for both the public and private sector. COVID-19 has disrupted a lot of value chains but we see it as an opportunity to build on and ride on the export strategy which seeks to feed into the region,”

Mr. Makasa said.

A delegation comprised of key officials from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and industry, Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency (ZCSA), Zambia Metrology Agency (ZMA), and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

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