Vice President Guy Scott has officially launched the government, World Bank and manufacturers’ local content initiative which is aimed at encouraging Zambian companies to produce quality local products.
Dr. Scott said Zambian companies should produce more goods to benefit the local market instead of the country relying on imported foreign products.
Dr. Scott was speaking at this year’s 56th Copperbelt Mining and Agriculture Society Show which has attracted both local and international exhibitors. The theme for the 2013 show is “Mining and Agriculture for Continued Development and Prosperity”.
He said Zambian firms should work hard and enhance employment opportunities for the local people.
He observed that corporate social responsibility was not enough hence government wanted Zambian firms to be well integrated in doing business through the local content initiative.
The initiative is a World Bank funded project. It started last year and it has brought on board manufacturers from mining and agriculture companies among others.
Dr. Scott reiterated government’s commitment to showing political will by working with the private sector, which he said was the engine of the country.
He said Zambia’s interest rates were low and therefore manufacturers should take advantage of this because government was commitment to having firms that produce locally produced but quality products.
He has meanwhile commended Zambia Breweries for demonstrating the initiative which has proved to be working in the country.
And speaking earlier, World Bank Country Representative Kundahavi Kadiresan said the bank was addressing challenges which the local manufacturers were faced with.
Ms. Kadiresan said the bank was working with small task groups targeting the mining firms in order to build capacity for the local mining and manufacturing industry.
She added that the bank was working with government through the private public partnership arrangement.
The Vice President later held a private meeting with mining firms.
Earlier, Dr. Scott toured some stands at the show.
Among the stands he toured were Zambia National Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Trade Hall, South African Pavilion and Chamber of Mines of Zambia.
The Vice President is accompanied to the Copperbelt by Minister of Agriculture and Live stock, Bob Sichinga, new Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga, Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenga and other senior government officials.