16 January 2013

Zambia: Industrial Growth - Zesco's Input Vital

THE Rural Industrialisation programme is an important initiative that has been on the Patriotic Front (PF) Government's drawing board since it assumed power in 2011 and this is now set to become a reality.

This will be buttressed by Zesco's plan to roll out power in productive areas such as Industrial Clusters.

With the Government concluding compilation of resource mapping data on the establishment of industrial clusters countrywide, this will help to spread national development and wealth creation which guarantees generation of at least two million jobs by the year 2016.

Data so far compiled will give guidelines to what kind of industry and the necessary equipment to be put in place at the various locations of the industrial clusters.

This bright idea will definitely strengthen and widen Zambia's manufacturing base with emphasis on the backward and forward linkages which will require intensified development of resource based industries as well as, help optimise to the maximum the value addition process.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Robert Sichinga has indicated that the PF Government is in a hurry to implement this ambitious programme which will boost the country's overall economy.

It is also encouraging to note that the Government will soon table in Parliament the Industrial and Value Added Bill to pave way for the creation of the clusters which have been top on the Government agenda.

This shows how committed the Government is on the programme that will enable the country export finished goods made out of raw materials like copper for example, as well as other various agricultural produce.

Although a lot has been done to pave way for the creation of the much anticipated Industrial clusters, there are still a number of issues to be considered and these are the road network linking these production areas, communication linkages as well as power supply.

These requirements need to be put in place quickly to instil more confidence and help to attract both local and foreign investors.

Zesco managing director Cyprian Chitundu's announcement that the power utility firm will supply power to the Industrial Clusters shows that the project will be highly successful.

Power, just like communication, road network and water supply, is key to the success of this highly anticipated Government programme which will not only create massive employment to mostly the rural population, but will open up for the maximum utilisation of the abundant raw materials that lie untapped in different parts of the country.

It is now up to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to ensure that, the Industry and Value Addition Bill is quickly presented to Parliament for speedy debate and passing so that the wheels of rural industrialisation can start turning round.

According to Mr Chitundu, this is what Zesco is waiting for and once this is done, the company is ready to go flat out to provide power supply to all the industrial cluster areas.

All what is needed now is a close collaboration between the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the chiefs through the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs for the necessary land allocation.

Nothing will stop this important rural industrialisation process as long as stakeholders such as Zesco for instance, are fully supported in terms of material, logistics and financial ability.

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