Copperbelt restores confidence in manufacturing industry
Thursday, 14 June 2012
COPPERBELT Province is one of the regions that were hit by the economic recession following the closure of various manufacturing cop1 Copperbelt restores confidence in manufacturing industryindustries resulting from the liberalisation of the economy in the early 1990s. Investor confidence can now be seen through various establishments that are adding value to the economic growth of the country.Government has further come up with initiatives to resuscitate other economic ventures providing support to the mining industry.
GREENFIELD investments has come on board in Ndola as well as the revival of the closed reputable companies that have resuscitated the economy of the once vibrant ‘Industrial hub of the Copperbelt’.
The Greenfield establishment includes Zambezi Portland Cement and Elsewedy Electric Zambia Limited.
Another establishment under construction is a cement manufacturing plant by Nigeria’s Dangote Industries, also a testimony of the increased investments in the city.
Zambezi Portland Cement, with an investment of US$100 million has created more than 500 jobs for the local people.
The company broke the monopoly in the cement manufacturing sector in the country.
Zambia has two companies in cement production with the third on the cards being Dangote Indusries Limited.
There is also Elsewedy Electric Zambia, a manufacturer of transformers. It is a joint venture between Zesco Limited and Elsewedy Electric of Egypt with a shareholding of 40 and 60 percent respectively. It has provided 60 jobs.
The third cement manufacturer, Dangote Industries, will invest a total of US$400 million in the state -of -the-art cement plant.
The Nigerian company is expected to create 600 permanent jobs for the local people.
The defunct Refined Oil Products (ROP) Zambia Limited, which also operated as Lever Brothers Zambia and closed operations, has been taken over by Gourock Industries.
The company manufactures edible oils and other products for the local market. It has created 400 jobs for the local people.
The Jacaranda Mall, situated in the industrial area on the Kabwe/Kapiri-Mposhi road, which housed the former Dunlop Company ,is also a hive of activities with a number of international retail shops opening their outlets at the shopping complex.
A thousand jobs have been created at the mall.
The increased establishment in the manufacturing sector has prompted Government to come up with an initiative to enter into a pact with the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) and the Chamber of Mine of Zambia (CMZ) to reindustrialise the Copperbelt to also resuscitate local industries that provide mining support services.
Vice-President Guy Scott disclosed this during the official opening of the just-ended 55th Copperbelt Mining, Agricultual, and Commercial Show in Kitwe recently.
Dr Scott pointed out that an initiative was recently launched by ZAM and CMZ with the assistance of the World Bank and Government’s approval, to re-industrialise the Copperbelt.
"The initiative concerns the re-industrialisation of the Copperbelt, particularly upstream of mining activity. What ZAM and CMZ are trying to work towards is a ‘pact’ in which mining companies guarantee to take a certain level of products for some period off the upstream producers," Dr Scott said.
He pointed out that the guarantee will in return serve to access cheaper long-term finance for the rehabilitation of local factories.
copperbelt1 300x211 Copperbelt restores confidence in manufacturing industry"Once this upstream sector is prospering, the way is open for other manufacturing industries to take advantage of the infrastructure," Dr Scott said
Government’s concern is that mining companies are importing virtually all their inputs to the actual mining and refining processes.
He says there is lack of assurance that any inputs produced will be bought by narrow base of mining operations, some of whom have reasons for wanting to import, rather than buy locally.
On agriculture, Dr Scott described the sector on the Copperbelt as a success story.
He also stressed that the business enabling environment in Zambia has made it possible for businesses to thrive.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga, who recently toured some selected industries on the Copperbelt, emphasised that Government will continue to provide an enabling environment for investors.
"As Government we are in a hurry of creating jobs for our youths, we are still not yet satisfied with the level of investment coming into the nation, we need more of such," he said.
Mr Sichinga noted that establishment of new investments are the only way for accelerated development to boost economic development that will trickle down to the common man on the streets.
On the increased construction work in the country, Mr Sichinga is quick to say that investment in the cement sector will meet the demand for the commodity.
The construction sector is growing and requires sufficient products on the local market.
"The increase in cement manufacturing sector does not mean that we do not want more of such investments, other countries have more than ten cement companies, we need as many investors as we can have to create jobs and improve our economy," he said.
Mr Sichinga said Government will extensively market the country as an investment destination through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA).
He said Government will take advantage of international forums to market the country through ZDA.
Mr Sichinga said Ndola has come back to life following the various establishments that have taken place in the city.
On the increased investments taking place in Ndola, Mr Sichinga said Government will ensure that more investment comes to Ndola.
"We can safely say that the city is on its track to regain its lost glory, as ‘an industrial hub’ of the Copperbelt," he said.
A Ndola resident, Rhoda Chandaweyaya, recalls the difficulties which she encountered starting from 1994 when most companies were closed.
Ms Chandaweyaya, 52, has seven children and four great grandchildren to look after through selling tomatoes and vegetables at Chifubu market.
"The tomato business went down as people opted to eat without spicing relish with tomato," she said.
She explains that as years went by there was change in business which she attributed to an increase in the number of investors coming into the provincial capital.
Ms Chandaweyaya explained that information on the closing of companies reached them in the market and realised the reasons why there were low business activities.
However, she said the current inflow of investment in the country should be supported by Government as the trickle down effects are being felt by the common man.
"The spill-over of the economic growth can be felt by us traders, through booming business activities, which means that something is happening," she says.
Ms Chandaweyaya manages to acquire three boxes of tomatoes for resale as opposed to the previous times when tomatoes ended up rotting.
"I am able to sell my merchandise without making a loss, because people have money in their pockets, " she said