By Cynthia Chiyabu Ngwengwe
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Christopher Yaluma has said the development of the local content strategy by the Ministry of Commerce is meant to realise some aspirations of the National Industry Policy such as increasing citizen participation in the economy.
Speaking at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka when he launched the ministerial strategic plan (2018- 2021) National Industrial Policy, National Local Content Strategy, and the National Investment Promotion Strategy, Hon. Yaluma said the local content requirements in the procurement, production and consumption of various goods and services will directly spur growth in locally owned businesses and thereby contribute to the growth of the industrial base.
“I wish to indicate that the ministerial strategic plan provides a strategic direction for the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry while the policy and strategies we are launching today outline how this strategic goal will be achieved,” he said.
He said the launch of the Ministerial Strategic Plan outlines the vision of the Ministry and its aspiration to be smart and value centred.
Hon. Yaluma said his Ministry is responsible for formulating and administrating policies as well as regulating activities in the trade and industrial sectors in order to enhance the sectors’ contribution to sustainable social economic growth and development for the benefit of the people of Zambia.
He said the strategic plan is aligned to long-term objectives of the vision 2030 which stipulates the people’s aspirations to live in a ‘prosperous middle-income nation by 2030’ that provides opportunities for the well-being of all citizens.
Hon. Yaluma further said the strategic plan is also aligned to the Seventh National Development Plan which is based on an integral multi-sectoral development approach which seeks to accelerate development efforts towards the Vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind.
“Among the key strategies that my Ministry will pursue to realise the intended results of this strategic plan include: formulation of policies, facilitation of growth of industries to enhance production and productivity, creation of decent employment opportunities, facilitation of production of high quality value added and competitive Zambian products, development of enterprises that are competitive and sustainable and promotion of local foreign investments.”
The minister went on to say that apart from the local content strategy, the Ministry was also launching the first stand-alone National Industrial Policy and its Implementation plan.
“This policy is deigned to accelerate industrialisation through growth of the manufacturing sector from an average of 5 percent to 20 percent and its contribution to Gross Domestic Product from 8% to 15% by 2028 as well as increasing efficiency in the utilisation of national resources that can spur technological advancement, innovation and increased productivity,” he said.
He further said the National Industrial Policy will foster new industrial capacity, employment generation, promote the diversification of productions to facilitate the creation of inter-sectoral and inter-industry linkages, promote the establishment of cooperatives across value chains, promote the development of industry specific skills and facilitate the shifting of economic activity towards higher value-added activities to spur sustainable economic growth.
Hon. Yaluma said the policy will also aim at increasing citizen participation in the economy by empowering them with skills, finances and space to establish and grow their value-adding businesses from micro, small, medium to large enterprises.
He went on to say that the development of the National Industrial Policy is premised on the fact that Zambia has the right elements to accelerate industrialisation because it is well-endowed with abundant natural resources.
He further said that government has placed industrial development at the core of its development agenda.
“The sectors being promoted as drivers for industrialisation include: processed foods, textiles and garments, engineering products, wood and wood products, leather and leather products, and pharmaceuticals including the blue economy,” he said.
He said the policy has taken cognisance that for industrialisation to be a reality, investment and development in Infrastructure, Agriculture, Tourism, Education, Energy, Information and Communication Technology as well Health should go hand in hand.
“For this reason, therefore, we expect Ministries and Institutions charged with development of Infrastructure, Agriculture, Tourism, Education, Energy, Information and communication Technology and Health to work with us in order for us to realise our dream,” he said.
He further said government has developed the National Investment Promotion Strategy aimed at mobilising and accelerating the growth of actualised domestic and foreign direct investments by 25% in growth sectors that support socio-economic development.
Hon Yaluma said the Institutional Framework Strategies will also be developed to facilitate, coordinate and monitor investment flows in these sectors for the country to become a prosperous, competitive and dynamic world-class investment destination.
The minister called upon the Zambian business community to take keen interest in the strategy and embrace it as a tool that will bring equity and give an equal chance to local firms to participate in various value chains across the economy.