PRESIDENT Lungu has urged Chinese companies to partner with local contractors to create employment for Zambians and enable citizens to benefit from infrastructure development projects.
And President Lungu, who is on an eight-day visit to China, has departed the seaside resort city of Sanya for Beijing to start his state visit.
Speaking during a meeting with China Henan International Group Company Limited (CHICO) vice-president Zhang Chengping here yesterday, Mr Lungu said Zambia’s approach will now be that of partnerships.
“We would like you to take on board Zambian contractors as we engage in projects in the country…there has been a cry by Zambians that they are not benefiting as much from the opening business opportunities which are coming with infrastructure development in the country.
“ I think we can get over this by you being the pacesetters or the pioneers of engaging Zambian enterprise as partners in working together in whatever contracts that are available in infrastructure development like roads, schools, hospitals and water works,” President Lungu said.
The President challenged Chinese companies to identify competent Zambians they have worked with as sub-contractors and form alliances with them.
“Bring them on board, and based on that, we can consider you favourably as potential contractors for future projects but if you just come in to make money out of Zambia and get away, then you find that we are a bit hostile and that is normal.
“I think interchange of technology and partnership is the in-thing now, China is collaborating with the rest of the world and that is how come China has moved fast,” Mr Lungu said.
He said this is why Chinese President Xi Jinping is talking of the Silk Road again.
Mr Lungu said Zambia’s approach is similar to that of China .
He said there are more Chinese companies and technologies which can be made available to the Zambian people.
And Mr Zhang congratulated President Lungu on his victory in the January 20 presidential election.
“I also observed that Your Excellency made a very good speech at the Boao Forum encouraging Chinese investors to be more proactive in the construction and development of Zambia. We are more than ready to pursue it from the role of the contractor to the investor.
“We are committed to working as a development partner of the government of Zambia by the modality of PPP (public-private partnership),” Mr Zhang said.
He also said his company is on course in facilitating Chinese financial institutions to fund the cost of projects like the second phase of the Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) rehabilitation works including urban and township road construction, rehabilitation and upgrading projects.
President Lungu later met China Poly Group Corporation Technologies Incorporated vice-president Cheu Ze Rong which is specialised in equipment for the military, police and prison services.
President Lungu said he would not impose the contract on Zambia.
“What is important for me as president is that the end-user of the products that you are supplying should be satisfied, should be happy. In fact, there should be a desire for that product for me to sanction the deal otherwise I will not impose anything from the top because you are my friends,” he said.
President Lungu said end-users and those who benefit and use the equipment China Poly Group Corporation Technologies Incorporated intends to supply should be the ones to recommend the purchase of the equipment.
And President Lungu yesterday left Sanya for Beijing to start his state visit.
President Lungu left Phoenix International Airport around 16:30 hours local time on board a Hainan Airlines flight.
And Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said Zambia has a lot to learn from China’s economic development recorded over the last 60 years.