State committed to strengthening manufacturing sector – Scott

Dr Guy Scott
Dr Guy Scott

VICE-President Guy Scott says Government will remain committed to strengthening the manufacturing sector in a bid to create jobs for Zambians.
And Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Emmanuel Chenda says Government is concerned about the escalating prices of cement.
Speaking during the official opening of the 2013 Manufacturers’ Week Local Content and Showcase seminar in Kitwe yesterday, Dr Scott said in a speech read for him by Mr Chenda that the Zambia Association of Manufacturers and Chamber of Mines of Zambia have taken practical steps to actualise the local content initiative.
“As one of the pioneers of this initiative, I am very passionate about the subject of local content,” Dr Scott said.
Dr Scott said the macroeconomic objectives for 2014 are to achieve real gross domestic product (GDP) growth above seven percent and to create about 200,000 decent jobs.
He said Government is determined to increase international reserves to over three months of import cover, maintain a fiscally sustainable public external debt level so that debt service and amortisation do not exceed 30 percent of domestic revenues.
Dr Scott also said Government is determined to increase domestic revenue collections to over 21 percent of GDP, limit domestic borrowing to 2.5 percent of GDP and contain the overall deficit to not more than 6.6 percent of GDP.
He said Government will continue promoting the diversification of manufactured products, especially those with export market potential by accelerating the development of the multi-facility economic zones and industrial parks.
Dr Scott said Government remains committed to facilitating value addition in manufacturing to explore regional and international export markets and create more jobs for the youth.
He said the removal of customs duty on electrical and mechanical industrial equipment in 2013 allowed manufacturers to import major capital items at relatively lower costs.
“Government will continue to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Some of the strategies and programmes being implemented include implementation of the national industrialisation and job creation, release of resources by Government such as K106.9 million in 2013 to the Development Bank of Zambia to support the financing needs of the industry, particularly small and medium-scale enterprises,” Dr Scott said.
He said strengthening linkages between the manufacturing and agriculture sectors through the rehabilitation of the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia is one of the strategies and programmes being implemented by Government.
“There is a big connection between mining and manufacturing in terms of provision of primary goods for processing into value addition to products,” Dr Scott said.
He said the local content initiative is important for local manufacturers, mining firms, Government and all stakeholders in advancing socio-economic development.
And Mr Chenda said Government is concerned about the escalating prices of cement and that investment into production of cement will help to lower the prices of the commodity.