GOVERNMENT will not allow Zambia to become a dumping ground for products and various goods from outside the country, President Edgar Lungu has warned.
Mr Lungu said he is saddened that foreign chain stores have continued occupying shopping malls without locals participating in the business.
The President said this when he officially opened Embassy Shopping Mall in Lusaka’s Chawama Township.
The new mall was financed by Click Zambia Limited at a cost of US$15 million and would create more than 700 jobs.
Mr Lungu said that locally grown enterprises should also be allowed to flourish and urged the developers of the mall to come up with deliberate rental structures to enable more locals have access and participate in the growth of the economy.
“If you do not come up with deliberate rental structures to enable the locals participate, how else will they feel they are part of the economy,” he said.
Zambian farmers should be given an opportunity to sell their produce in the malls as opposed to the selling of foreign produce which was also available in the country.
Mr Lungu has since directed Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe to pay random visits to shopping malls and ensure they were operating as agreed.
Government was eager to see that equitable and quality goods were being brought into the country.
He said quality employment was vital and called for increased private sector participation in the delivery of social and public amenities.
He said the private sector was the engine for economic growth and Government was providing the needed investment climate to allow the private sector to flourish.
There was also need for Zambia to identify other key areas that would sustain growth and drive away from continued dependence on the mining sector.
“Posterity will judge us harshly if we do not diversify away from mining and invest in other sectors for the benefit of our youth,” he said.
He urged the people of Chawama to guard and protect the mall from vandalism and urged various investors at the complex to give job opportunities to Chawama residents.
Clicks Zambia director Aki Vasilakopoulous said the mall would provide 46 businesses and that more 500 people were employed during construction phase.
Chawama Member of Parliament Lawrence Sichalwe called for urgent traffic management and the improvement of roads to assist decongest the area around the new mall.
Lusaka Mayor George Nyendwa said the opening of the mall would assist reduce poverty and inequality among the people.
The President took time to tour the new facility as he also officially opened a Finance Bank and Spar outlet at the same place.