Various stakeholders on the Copperbelt province have welcomed the Presidential commitment and encouragement on the government’s stance to unlocking opportunities for local suppliers and contractors in the mining sector.
President Hakainde Hichilema while addressing scores of residents at Kitwe’s Chaganamai grounds yesterday did indicate that government is working on unlocking Konkola and Mopani Copper mines to create jobs.
And the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) describes the move as ‘welcome’ as it is something local Small and Medium Enterprises has been longing for a long time.
ZAM President, Ashu Sagar has emphasised that the starting point is to allow participation of local contractors and suppliers in the creation of mineral resource value chains.
Mr. Sagar said the pronouncement by the Head of State is a solution to the problems that local contractors and suppliers have been facing when it comes to the participation in the mining sector.
He adds that prioritizing local suppliers and contractors as indicated by President Hichilema will supplement the new administration’s plans to resuscitate the economy.
Mr. Sagar has also described the state of roads leading to key borders posts on the Copperbelt as hindrances to meaningful trade.
The roads will enhance flow of trade between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which he states is the major market for Zambia’s manufactured goods.
“As a manufacturing sector, we rely on these border posts to take our goods to Congo which is one of the major markets, I think this is a very welcome move by the President that we have the roads worked on, as soon as possible” Mr. Sagar said.
President Hichilema yesterday assured Copperbelt residents that the Ndola-Mufulira and the Chingola-Chililabombwe-Kasumbalesa roads have already been prioritised and will be worked soon.
Mr. Sagar states working on the roads coupled with the framework to have all borders in the region operating on a 24 basis will reduce the turnaround time for the transporters.
Meanwhile, Ndola District Chamber of Commerce President, Paul Chisunka says there is need to ensure a portion of mining investments is allocated to Zambian suppliers and contractors.
Mr. Chisunka added that mines and government remain the biggest buyers of products and services in the country and that allowing Zambians to access supply opportunities will enhance economic activities across the various sectors.