President Hakainde Hichilema has challenged the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) to come up with a checklist of what inhibits the growth of the manufacturing sector and their businesses.
President Hichilema has said the government is ready to work with ZAM to grow their businesses because it is fundamental to economic transformation.
He says the local capacity of the businesses should be enhanced to venture into value addition and further grow the value chain.
The Head of State notes that with the limited time his administration was given to come up with a budget, the provisions in the proposed budget are intended to help businesses and not harm them.
Speaking during the Economic Transformation Conference hosted by ZAM, President Hichilema said the government is working at creating a conducive environment for businesses to thrive through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which SMEs can take advantage o
He however said when given the opportunity, businesses should do their part by ensuring supplies are readily available while the prices of the goods and services are affordable.
President Hichilema further said the African Continental Free Trade Area will be meaningless if Zambia does not benefit.
And On energy, President Hichilema urged the businesses to bring a new Energy mix adding that currently there is a monopoly that does not allow others to come in to have Power Purchase Agreements.
He said there is a need for ZAM and Government to work to unlock the potential in the energy sector especially easing Power Purchase Agreements.
Meanwhile, President Hichilema said Government will roll out the covid-19 vaccination to workplaces to bring the disease under control.
And Commerce Minister Chipoka Mulenga said ZAM is cardinal in the realization of industrialization and economic transformation.
Mr. Mulenga said his ministry plans to revise how the multi-facility economic zones will contribute to the country’s economy.
And ZAM President Ashuwini Sagar called on Government to be consistent in its policies and enhance access to finances, skilled workforce and adequate supply of power so that the sector can enhance value addition.
Mr. SAGAR also called on Government to consider revising the school curriculum to enable children from a young age to get the right skills.
Meanwhile, First Quantum Minerals Specialist Goodwin Beene urged Government to take advantage of the current price of copper and demand on the international market to strengthen the sector.
Dr. Beene said Government should address the challenges that the sector is facing so that it continues to attract investments.
And Trade Kings Group Public Relations and Corporate Manager Bridget Kambode said the manufacturing sector is a key driver to economic transformation and expressed optimism that under the leadership of President HIchilema solutions will be found to the prevailing challenges in the sector.