ABOUT 500 local enterprises have registered for the preferential procurement (PP) facility which advocates the awarding of tenders and contracts to the Zambian owned firms.
Commerce,Trade and Industry Minister Robert Sichinga said the registration of companies and business names had become a popular facility by the citizens.
He said that popularity of the facility had increased during this period when the Government had suspended the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund disbursement.
Speaking during a Press briefing in Lusaka, Mr Sichinga said that the commission had doubled its quarterly target of certificate issuance of which 250 certificates had been issued during the same period.
Mr Sichinga said the 496 enterprises which have recently been registered bring the total number of registered companies for preferential procurement to 1,696 since the exercise began.
The Government would, using the public procurement system, therefore, become an active market for products from SMEs.
"Since inception about 1,696 companies have registered for PP and this is a good sign and as Government we are supporting the Small and Medium sector primarily within the context of the Citizens Economic Empowerment laws and my ministry is forcefully pushing for quick implementation of PP," he said.
He said the Government was confident that Zambian businesses were capable of delivering quality products on local and regional markets if only they were availed with appropriate working environment.
The other major thrust of SME development agenda include industrialisation of rural areas through clusters and the inter-country markets programme which all aim at boosting cross border trading and fostering national and economic development.
The minister said that the Government had agreed on principle with the Konkola Copper Mine on the establishment of a copper city in Kabwe which is expected to be the major copper processing centre.
He said the proposed investment would help increase added value to copper and that the Government intends to attract industries that would produce world-class quality copper.