THE Government through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) with Protea Hotels Zambia worth US$ 90.3 million to facilitate for the expansion and construction of 15 hotels in Zambia.
This investment programme will create a projected direct employment of 885 permanent jobs and a further 800 supported jobs of which 98 per cent will be for Zambians.
Protea Hotels Zambia Chairperson Mark O'Donnell said under the IPPA, Protea Hotels Zambia was committed to create and sustain a preference for employment of Zambians.
Mr O'Donnell said the investment plan outlined in the IPPA include the establishment of new hotels in Chipata and the Southern Belle to be located at Lake Kariba to be opened later this year.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati said Government was working on measures to reduce 27 licences that are slowing down growth in the tourism industry.
"We will ensure that we reduce the business licences that are discriminating and slowing down growth in the sector," he said.
Mr O'Donnell said further benefits from the Protea Hotels Zambia expansion plan would include many and varied linkages to local businesses from initial planning and financing through the construction phase with contractors and sub-contractors.
"We will continue with our support through to the operations of the hotel with relationships with local suppliers, small scale farmers and producers and service providers of all kind, "he said.
As the Zambia Protea network grows it will have a tremendous direct and indirect benefit in revenue for national and local Government.
The hotel pledges to assist Government with its objective to advance the social and economic development of the country and contribute to the sustainable development for the benefit of people.
He said all employees are provided the advanced training facilities both locally and internationally to give them the much needed exposure for capacity building and transfer of skills for self -sustainability and career advancement.
ZDA board chairman Luke Mbewe said the investment will support the purchase of land and or buildings, plants, equipment, furniture, construction work and staff training, working capital, finance cost and other statutory fees.
The Zambia Development Agency Act provides that the board shall promote private investment by endeavoring to conclude investment promotion and protection agreement with prospective investors.
Mr Mbewe said the company had already identified suitable sites for the project, purchase contracts have been signed and the training programme for the workers was in progress.
The hotel has sourced some of required capital for project implementation and completion as well as expansion works.
Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Felix Mutati said Government was working on measures to reduce 27 licences that are slowing down growth in the tourism industry.
Mr Mutati said the reforms of the Tourism and Hospitality Act had commenced and business licence restructuring programme would make it easier for all investors to operate with significantly less red tape.
"We will ensure that we will reduce the business licences that discriminating and slowing down growth in the sector, "he said.