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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry praises Government for proposing stable regulatory reforms in 2021 budget

Headlines Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry praises Government for proposing stable...

The Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has praised the government for proposing stable regulatory reforms in the 2021 national budget.

ZACCI president Chabuka Kawesha has since advised the government to ensure that there is an active stakeholder participation in the policy, regulatory and structural reforms process that will be undertaken.

In an interview after the presentation of the 2021 national budget at parliament yesterday, Mr Kawesha explained that there is need for the government to involve the private sectors in issues that are key to the country’s development agenda such as the policy and regulatory reforms.

“Managing the issue of debt and recouping of major infrastructure projects government must realise that the private sector Is available to undertake some of these projects hence the emphasis on the policy and regulatory and reforms that is very key and that area must allow the private sector to get greater involvement,” he said.

On industrialization, Mr Kawesha observed that government should suspend or scrap off the investment threshold for Zambian citizens to qualify for tax incentives under the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Act Number 11 of 2006.

Government has in the 2021 national budget proposed to reduce the incentive from US$ 500,000 to US$ 100,000 from those intending to operate in a priority sector such as multi facility economic zones or industrial parks.

But he explained that the proposed incentive is still high for ordinary Zambians to be encouraged to invest in such economic ventures.

“In terms of industrialization and access to MFEZ US$ 100,000 is still high, I think the government should have just waved it out to probably scrap it and then take other measures other than fiscal ones to allow the local manufacturers to take up the incentive, “Mr Kawesha explained.

He further added that many local manufacturers have failed to venture into serious business on account of restrictions due to fiscal measures that have been put in place.

Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu during the presentation of the 2021 national budget announced that government will undertake reforms in the areas of domestic resource mobilization, debt management and public procurement among others.

“Mr Speaker, achieving economic recovery and building resilience to safeguard livelihoods and protect the vulnerable, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, requires us to undertake policy, regulatory and structural reforms,” he said.

And Dr Ng’andu said government is promoting the procurement of locally produced goods to enhance the market opportunities for the local industry in order to support industrialization.

He also cited the construction of industrial yards across the country as an initiative that will further promote industrialization and create at least 4,000 employment opportunities.

He also called upon the private sector to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement which comes into effect in 2021 and expand their business and market base.

“With the coming into force of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in 2021, Zambia will reposition herself to take advantage of the expanded market to the rest of Africa. Let me urge the private sector to harness the opportunity of the agreement to grow their business and access the market, “he noted.

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