Some residents of Kabwe district in Central Province have appealed to government to consider transforming Zambia-China Mulungushi Textiles into an economically viable public institution.
The residents said they were concerned that the textile plant, which has been closed since June 30, 2007, is just wasting away and slowly turning into a white elephant.
Mumba Kabai from Lukanga Township said the Zambia and Chinese governments should liaise and agree to turn the defunct textile plant into something profitable for the people of Kabwe and the country as a whole.
Mr. Kabai said the people of Kabwe are expectant and are hoping that the government would work hard to ensure that the facility is revived given the commitment government had shown in the past.
He observed that most of the equipment at the plant was obsolete and that it may be difficult for any investor to invest in the textile company considering the huge cost implications.
He, therefore, advised that it would be better for the two governments to consider turning the facility into a public university or boarding school instead of focusing on resuscitating it in its current state.
Mr. Kabai further observed that given its strategic position and capacity, the facility is best suited to serve as a public university and would be of great benefit to the people of Kabwe and Zambia as a whole.
And Nalukui Sipalo from Dallas residential area has welcomed the idea of turning the facility into a public institution saying it was long overdue.
Ms. Sipalo said it would be important for the governments of Zambia and China to consider the idea of transforming the textile plant into something useful because resuscitating the plant seems to be a non-starter.
She said the need to transform it into a public university was a welcome move because currently, the country has limited public universities and is in urgent need of institutions of higher learning.
She added that the government should pay serious attention to Kabwe residents’ calls concerning transforming the facility which they said can be useful to them with regards to employment creation as well as the uplifting their living standards.
Ms. Sipalo expressed hope that something profitable would be done in ensuring that the facility is useful.
And Justin Mweemba from Bwacha township said Kabwe was in need of development noting that the textile plant was one of the major pieces of infrastructure that can be used to resuscitate the town’s lost glory.
Mr. Mweemba said he would welcome any fruitful idea aimed at transforming the textile plant into a profitable business venture as long as it was of benefit to both Kabwe district and the country at large.
He said there was need for the two governments to consider the people’s views and ensure that their interests are upheld.
But government said it was not sitting idle on the matter.
Central Province Minister, Sydney Mushanga said government was making frantic efforts to ensure that something profitable was done about the Mulungushi textile plant.
Mr. Mushanga told ZANIS in an interview that overhauling the Zambia-China Mulungushi Textile was still high on government’s agenda.
He said government was committed to ensuring that the facility is operational and will not allow any bit of it to go to waste.
He stated that discussions regarding the textile plant were ongoing adding that the general public will be made aware on the progress in the quickest possible time.
The minister has since appealed to Kabwe residents to exercise patience while the government was looking into issues surrounding the textile plant.
From the time it ascended to power, the Patriotic Front administration has shown some commitment to resuscitate the textile plant.
Currently, the facility is under the care of the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC).