President Edgar Lungu has commissioned a K20 million pole treatment plant in Kalulushi and has since called on the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation(ZESCO), Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and Zamtel to stop importing the poles but buy the commodity from the plant.
President Lungu says it is time Zambians started buying from local fellow companies if the country has to fulfil its industrial objectives and overall development.
Speaking in Kalulushi yesterday when he commissioned the plant at the ZAFFICO plantation, the Head of State described the commissioning of the plant as a monumental occasion which demonstrates the Patriotic Front government’s committed drive to transforming the country into an industrial hub which will create the much needed jobs especially for the youth.
President Lungu stated the pole treatment plant will make the country self-reliant as it will manage to meet the national demand of the poles.
For a long time the country’s three utility companies , ZESCO, REA and Zamtel , have been importing the poles and expressed optimism that with the coming on
board of the plant, this now will make the trend a thing of the past.
This trend had led to the externalization of resources which the country needed.
“ Industries in Zambia will only become successful when locals begin to rally behind them so that they grow and development is enhanced, “ said Mr. Lungu.
And President Lung has directed the Workers Compensation Board Fund (WCBF ) to partner with ZAFFICO in order to enhance its operations.
Dispelled assertions that ZAFFICO will be closed, the Republican President operations of ZAFFICO will be improved further with the Compensation Fund.
The President has also urged the company to sell its remaining of housing units to beneficiary workers as earlier planned with late Republican President Michael Sata.
And President Lungu has warned that his administration will not take kindly to any parastatal companies that were not innovative .
He said punitive measures will be taken against parastatals found wanting. He therefore urged them to be creative like ZAFFCO who he said have developed strategies which seen the firm to where it is today.
President Lungu re- affirmed governments’ commitment of creating an enabling business environment through its policies in ensuring local business entrepreneurs flourish.
Speaking earlier ZAFFICO Board Chairperson Jacob Mwitwa assured the Head of State that the company will continue expanding its operations whenever more resources and land are acquired throughout the country.
Dr Mwitwa said the company would not have succeeded if it was not for governments support from the time it embarked on its expansion programs.
The Parastatal is to date successfully managing two plantations in Luapula and Muchinga provinces where it is has planted over 2,800 eucalyptus and pine trees.
He told the President that his management company had also successfully paid off all remaining related benefits to former Kawambwa tea company workers and the tea company was now fully operation.
K20 million was spent on putting up the pole treatment plant in Kalulushi with locally mobilized resources and used a local contractor in constructing the plant.
The plant is expected to be producing 140,000 poles per year and will create over 500 both direct and indirect jobs along the value chain.
President Lungu was accompanied by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo, Home Affairs minister Steven Kampyongo, PF Secretary General Davies Mwila and Copperbelt based MPs.
The eleven traditional leaders from the Lima-Lamba speaking people were also present during the commissioning of the plant.