Lusaka Province Minister, Sheal Mulyata has directed Uniworld Paper Industry Limited to close with immediate effect for operating illegally.
ZANIS reports that ZEMA and the Labour office suspended operations at Uniworld Paper Industry Limited on March 17, 2023 due to the unsafe, unhygienic conditions and failure to register the company with relevant authorities.
Speaking at the company premises in Ngwerere area in Chongwe district today, Ms. Mulyata said the plant should cease operations with immediate effect and remain closed until the company becomes compliant and meets the right criteria given to them by ZEMA and the labour office to operate as a paper industry.
Ms. Mulyata who was accompanied by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) Operations Manager David Kapindula and Assistant Labour officer Michael Shangobika during an impromptu visit to Uniworld Paper Industry Limited said the company has been operating illegally after it was closed on March 17 this year.
The minister said she decided to pay a surprise visit to the company following complaints lodged to her office about the pollution coming from the plant.
The visibly annoyed Ms. Mulyata said the people in area are living in a hazard situation because of the smell and the smoke coming from the plant.
“For now I feel it is very untidy and unsafe. I am also worried for the workers even for the administration staff because they are not meeting the safety criteria,” she said.
She further warned companies that will be found not meeting the safety standards and labour laws will be dealt with accordingly.
“My office, ZEMA and the labour office will work together as a team for the sake of the people, and to ensure that rights of workers are protected,” she said.
And Operations Manager for ZEMA, David Kapindula said the company will only be allowed to resume operations after putting in place all the necessary safety measures for both the workers and the general public.
“As far as ZEMA is concerned, this company is closed until all the issues that ZEMA had requested the company to do are put in place,” Mr. Kapindula said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Labour Officer Michael Shangobika said the company was closed last month for failing to meet safety standards.
“On the 17th of March, 2023, we inspected the plant and it was recommended that it ceases operations and close immediately because it did not meet the standard safety criteria and it was not registered,” said Mr. Shangobika.