The government has noted with dismay the impromptu on-going closure of Spar outlets in Zambia at a time when the Chain store has grown to become one of the household names in Zambia.
Spar Zambia Limited Management announced that it will close its retail outlets across the country after having operated for over eighteen (16) years.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Hon Christopher Yaluma says this development is unprecedented and Government through his ministry is very much concerned as the consequences would obviously have impact on the economy and general welfare of the target employees.
Hon Yaluma told journalists in Lusaka that unfortunately, the decision by Spar Zambia Limited is being actualized at the time when countries globally have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or Coronavirus.
“Since its launch through commercial presence on the Zambian economy in 2003, Spar Zambia Limited has been an active player in the domestic retail sector by providing effective demand for local products which are marketed and sold in its outlets across the country. The Chain store is said to be one of the world’s largest retail chain operating in over thirty countries. Spar Zambia Chain stores are known for providing wide variety of products which includes food and groceries, fruits and vegetables, wines and beverages, takeaway restaurants and in-store bakery section,” said Hon Yaluma.
“Given this wide range of product lines, Spar Zambia and other similar stores in the retail sector play a significant role in stimulating value-chains development, job creation and contributes to government treasury through various tax remittance. Spar Zambia has over the last decade of operating on the local market established an admirable brand for itself among the Zambian consumers of which typically everyone would desire to safeguard in the interest of economic stability.”
The Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister stated that in view of this unfortunate development in the retail sector instigated by the exit of Spar Zambia Limited from the economy, Zambia cannot underscore the importance of the need for Government to intervene and explore robust strategies to help remedy the situation and avert potential material injury to the retail sector and the economy in general.
Hon Yaluma called upon all concerned stakeholders to remain calm as Government through his Ministry pursue remedial measures anchored on ‘‘home-grown solutions for sustainability and inclusive participation’’.
“My Ministry through Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has already engaged Spar Zambia and other potential investors to explore corporate finance strategies on how to manage a smooth exit of Spar Zambia from the local market. We are working smart to ensure that the closure of Spar outlets did not scare other Chain stores nor limit competition in the retail sector. Let me take this opportunity to assert that Covid-19 pandemic has induced a different way of doing business under the ‘‘new normal business environment’’ and this demands for business entities to be more innovative and while Government continues to provide the necessary support. And this will only be achieved if all relevant stakeholders through public-private-partnership collaborated in good faith and for mutual benefit,” he added.
“It is, therefore, my Ministry’s desire that the private sector undertakes to embrace the Proudly Zambian Campaign (PZC) and consummate business partnerships to either bridge the gap being left by those entities exiting the market and or utilize the programme as a foundation for innovative business partnerships anchored on home-grown solutions. Further, the private sector players are encouraged to embrace a hybrid framework that is characterized of innovation and partnerships that guarantees cost efficiency and building of economies of scale for competitiveness on the market.”