Thursday, July 25, 2024

Copperbelt Activist Pushes for Swift Enactment of Local Content Law in Zambia

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Copperbelt based good governance activist Peter Mulenga has advocated the quick enactment of the local content law in Zambia.

Local content requirements are a type of trade protection mechanism that depends on the law to create requirements for international companies and forces them to produce or rent a certain amount of goods and services domestically.

Mr. Mulenga said the local content law will lead to job creation, boost the domestic private sector, facilitate technology transfer and build a competitive local workforce.

“Local content is important in Zambia for several reasons, and mining firms should support it to foster sustainable development, economic growth, and social progress within the country. Here are some key reasons why local content is important in Zambia and why mining firms should actively support it:Economic Development: Supporting local content in the mining sector stimulates economic development by creating opportunities for local businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers. It encourages the growth of domestic industries, fosters entrepreneurship, and generates income and employment within local communities. This, in turn, helps them to maintain their social responsibility policy and develop the mining towns they operate in.Our colleagues in DRC are well advanced in this policy and you can see results. Tanzania activated theirs, Botswana and South Africa do use the same law. Outsiders cannot conduct business in the DRC unless they use a local middleman,” Mr. Mulenga said.

“Job Creation: By Firming Houses buying goods and services from local suppliers and contractors and hiring local labor, mining firms will contribute to job creation, economic growth and skills development in Zambia. This helps to reduce unemployment rates, alleviate poverty, and improve livelihoods for local residents, particularly in regions where mining operations are located. Value Addition: Local content promotes value addition by encouraging the processing and beneficiation of raw materials within Zambia. This can lead to higher value exports, increased revenue generation, and a more sustainable and diversified economy over the long term,” he said.

Mr. Mulenga emphasised that the pending local content law should be supported for the sake of Zambia’s development.

“Capacity Building: Supporting local content initiatives builds the capacity and capabilities of local businesses, suppliers, and workforce. Mining firms can provide training, technology transfer, and skills development opportunities to empower local stakeholders and enhance their competitiveness in the global marketplace.Social Responsibility: Embracing local content demonstrates a commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable development. Mining firms have a responsibility to contribute positively to the communities in which they operate by maximizing local benefits, respecting human rights, and minimizing negative environmental and social impacts,” Mr. Mulenga said.

Mr. Mulenga added that he is aware that Zambian suppliers are seeking for K30 million threshold to be set aside for Zambian suppliers and contractors.

“Enhanced Stakeholder Relations: Engaging with local communities and supporting local content initiatives can help mining firms build trust, strengthen relationships, and secure social acceptance. This can reduce social tensions, conflicts, and opposition to mining activities, enhancing the company’s social license to operate and long-term viability.Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with local content regulations and requirements is essential for maintaining a favorable operating environment and ensuring regulatory compliance. By adhering to local content policies, mining firms can avoid legal and reputational risks and demonstrate their commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices.”

Mr. Mulenga concluded:”In summary, local content is important in Zambia because it promotes economic development, job creation, value addition, capacity building, social responsibility, stakeholder engagement, and regulatory compliance. Mining firms should support local content to maximize the positive impacts of their operations and contribute to inclusive and sustainable development in Zambia.
Zambian suppliers are seeking for K30 million to be set aside for Zambian suppliers and contractors, since this is the only way for local entrepreneurs to develop. History will be made once this law is implemented; you will see a significant increase in economic development.”

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