REPUBLICAN Vice-President Inonge Mutukwa Wina has challenged the local business community to position themselves to reap from the benefits of revamping the Resettlements areas in Zambia.
Mrs Wina has said the Resettlement areas dotted across the country were envisioned to drive economic activity in rural areas and contribute to national growth.
Speaking when she met with the Business community in Mongu District of Western Province, Mrs. Wina bemoaned that over 1 million hectares of land designated as Resettlement Schemes been underutilized due to lack of capital investment.
Her Honour the Vice-president said being the one in-charge of spearheading the initiative, her office came up with the idea to turn the Resettlement Scheme to rural.l industrial production houses.
“Over the years very little have come out of the r/Resettlements hence we looked for other partners to work with governemnt over in order to revitalize the Initiative,” Mrs Wina said.
She said an opportunity had availed itself under the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement which was signed by the Zambians government.
The Vice-president said the Agreement had provided an opportunity for her office to rethink on strategies on how to boost economic activity in the resettlement.
“My office had to look outside government circles and struck a partnership with the private sector, in this case the Southern Africa Business Development Forum under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative,” she said.
“To turn around this program, mynoffice had to sign an MOU with a private company and this was done in October 2019 and the commitment on the part of the blBusiness Forum is to revamp, develop and revitalize the existing 93 Resettlements in the country and new ones to promote business trade internationally.”
Mrs Wina revealed that the Council of Ministers had to authorise the Office of the Vice-president which was acting on behalf of government to do due diligence procedures with the private partner and negotiate with the company.
Her Honour the Vice-president said that the processes were concluded and an agreement would be signed shortly between the two parties.
“We are envisioning development in terms of road development, air travel, energy and other sectors,” Mrs Wina added. “The issue for the Western Province Chamber of Commerce is where are you positioning yourself in this scheme of things?”
Mrs Wina said there was going to be a lot of opportunities in the area of coordination, partnerships and linkages in the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement.
“I see opportunities where you can anchor yourselves in the value chain in the infrastructure development and other sectors so position yourselves well as entrepreneurs and business people,” Mrs Wina advised the community.
“This program is focused on moving volumes of products and commodities into neighbouring countries and as an entrepreneur you have to find out how you fit in this scheme because you see opportunities more than challenges in a given situation.”
She urged them to find a way of being be part and parcel of the development because it was a national program program for everyone with the Resettlement Areas as the focal points for the initiative in different parts.