OPERATIONS will soon resume at Kabwe’s Zambia-China Mulungushi Textiles Joint Venture (ZCMT-JV) following a 12-year lease of the textile firm to the Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (MeTL) Group.
MeTL Group will inject an initial US$10 million into the textile firm to be renamed MeTL Mulungushi Textiles and create about 2,000 jobs.
This came to light on Wednesday during the signing of the leasing agreement by ZCMT-JV board vice-chairperson Rosemary Salukatula and MeTL Group chairman Gulam Dewji in Kabwe.
MeTL Group employs more than 20,000 people in Tanzania and has interest in trading, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and petroleum, financial services, mobile telephony, infrastructure and real estate, transport and logistics, and distribution.
Ms Salukatula, who represented both the Zambian government and Qingdao Textiles Holding Group Company Limited, said the agreement involves leasing of the ZCMT-JV plant and equipment.
ZCMT-JV ceased operations on June 30, 2007 due to under-capitalisation and other operational challenges.
“It is Government’s desire that the leasing of this factory will provide for further investment and working capital to boost the cotton industry and promote economic and technical co-operation in the cotton industry given the background that MeTL has in the cotton industry and business,” she said.
Ms Salukatula, who is also Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary, said one of Government’s main agenda is to create jobs and this is why the textile firm is being revived.
She said the ZCMT-JV board is aware of challenges associated with the textile industry and that in case MeTL Group encounters difficulties, it will receive necessary support.
She commended the caretaker staff of ZCMT-JV for their resilience and commitment in looking after the plant even when salaries were delayed.
“We are able to sign this lease agreement because the company is in a condition that it can be taken over by another investor,” Ms Salukatula said.
And Mr Dewji said the company is in Zambia for serious business.
“We will make sure that employment in cotton and textile industry is met,” Mr Dewji said.
He promised that MeTL Group will work within the laws of Zambia and maximise performance.
In an interview after the signing ceremony, Mr Dewji said textile production will start in three months’ time after plant rehabilitation.
ZCMT-JV board member Emmanuel Chilubanama said the leasing of ZCMT-JV is fulfilment of the promises that President Sata made that the Patriotic Front government was going to revive the textile firm.
Qingdao Textiles Holding Group Company Limited owns 66 percent shares in ZCMT-JV and Zambia, through the Ministry of Defence, has 34 percent shares.
Kabwe Central member of Parliament (MP) James Kapyamga commended President Sata for facilitating the investment by the MeTL Group in Kabwe.
Mr Kapyanga said in an interview that the signing of the lease agreement is a positive development because the closure of ZCMT negatively affected the lives of many Kabwe residents and businesses.
“Today, we are reopening an investment that is going to give life and I am proud of being part of this process, especially that the investment sits within my constituency,” he said.
Bwacha MP Sydney Mushanga said the investment by the MeTL group is testimony that the Government is determined to revive the economy of Kabwe.
Mr Mushanga implored MeTL Mulungushi Textiles to diversify in its investment as it has done in Tanzania so that more jobs are created.
ZAMBIA DAILY MAIL