1 February 2013

Zambia: 'Restrict Chinese Investors' Area of Business'

SOME traders in Ndola have complained about the influx of Chinese traders who are trading in various products and they feel they should be restricted to specific areas.

The traders at Main Masala Market have called on the Government to come up with a mechanism to restrict foreign traders from trading as Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs).

Main Masala Market Traders Association information and publicity secretary Ireen Chilufya said business for the local traders was low and the coming in of the Chinese traders who were opening retail outlets at the market was worsening the scenario.

Ms Chilufya said the Chinese investors were disadvantaging the local traders because their goods were cheaper than those of their local counterparts because they had cheaper sources.

"The issue of the Chinese investors displacing us started some time last year when hundreds of traders protested at the provincial administration offices calling for Government's intervention. The Government has told us to co-exist with the Chinese and other foreign investors and we have agreed to do so as long as they restrict these people to specific areas of doing business," she said.

Ms Chilufya said even if the Zambian economy was liberalised, there was nothing wrong with the authorities to put in place controls for the sake of ensuring that the local informal sector sustained itself.

Another trader Godwin Mapulanga said the local traders were now forced to order things for resale from the Chinese owned outlets and the market.

Mr Mapulanga said buying goods from Chinese traders was not in any way improving things for the local SMEs because their suppliers were also selling the goods at retail prices.

"We have Chinese selling chickens, vegetables and tomatoes even fast moving goods such as replica Chipolopolo jerseys at lower retail prices than us. It is difficult for most of us to break even," he said.

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