By DERRICK SILIMINA
The North-Western Chamber of Commerce and Industry is optimistic that the newly-elected Government will facilitate the management of abundant natural resources in the province.
In his inaugural speech recently at a colourful swearing-in ceremony held at Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, President Hakainde Hichilema who is Zambia’s seventh democratically elected Head of State said his administration would over the next five years focus on restoring macro-economic stability and promoting the growth of the economy.
For this reason, NWCCI President Mukumbi Kafuta has commended President Hichilema’s inaugural speech, adding that there is need to strike a balance in managing both the public and private sector if economic recovery is to be actualized.
“We expect that the new Government is going to facilitate the management of resources in the province; and just like in his inaugural speech, we expect that there is going to be good management in terms of land issues because as a province we have abundant natural resources,” Kafuta says.
President Hichilema hinted that his Government will strive to increase copper and other mineral production so that Zambia can reclaim its place as one of Africa’s leading mining countries.
In this context, Kafuta notes that since North-Western Province is blessed with minerals, forests, forest products and water among others, it is high time effective policies are put in place to ensure that efficient and transparent management of the natural resources so that Zambian businesses can begin to benefit from them.
He affirms that Zambian SMEs have the capacity to compete effectively in economic transformation of the country as most of them are ready and have further learned the art of mining and supplying to the sector.
Kafuta stresses that there is also need to increase participation of the private sector in economic affairs of the country if economic recovery is to be realized. The inclusion of the local private sector into Zambia’s economic management is key especially that the province is predominantly a mining region.
“We anticipate that in the seventh administration there will be more participation in terms of business volumes that will be given to Zambian-owned businesses. We also expect that there will be a lot of technological transfer in key contracts where locals will have to be prioritized,” Kafuta states.
The boost in local investment in the province will trickle down to other sectors such as agriculture since the province is rich in abundant water bodies and land.
In terms of agricultural exports, the Chamber President emphasizes on the need to ensure that the current UPND Government removes all trade barriers in the sector so that more Zambians begin to export and bring in the much-needed foreign exchange.
Kafuta reiterates that agriculture is a vital industry which will ensure that the country’s overdependence on copper is transformed into a hub of industrialization through food processing and value addition.
With an economic environment conducive for investment, there is need for the new Government to attract multinational investors so that the tourism activity of the province is re-ignited.
In repositioning itself in readiness to work with the current regime in a bid to achieve its goals, NWCCI has expressed commitment to work with the new Government just like the Chamber did with the past administration.
“We pledge our allegiance and support to the new Government and we hope that we are going to work very well together in implementing some of the policies that are going to be pronounced.”