—-Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Robert Sichinga, says the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has disbursed almost K1, 140,000 to 39 projects in Isoka district.
Mr Sichinga says this money is for empowering small scale local companies and micro-projects in the district to enable them create wealth and jobs using raw materials found or produced in Isoka.
Out of the 39 approved projects in Isoka district, three are big projects which gobbled almost K960,000 while 36 are micro-projects valued at K180,000.
He says government was aiming at equally empowering rural and urban citizens with channels through which they would help create wealth towards developing the country.
Mr Sichinga notes that government will empower both rural and urban local companies so that they can add value to products produced and grown in a particular district.
He says using comparative advantages and industrial potential of various districts in the country would help develop Zambia.
He was speaking in Isoka yesterday when he addressed a business workshop involving various small-scale companies and business persons who have benefitted and are yet to benefit from the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) funding.
Mr Sichinga has since flagged off Zikhomo General Dealers and Chimbunguya Enterprises which are value-chain companies involved in soya bean processing.
Zikhomo General Dealers got a loan of K197,126 while Chimbunguya Enterprises got K213,126 from the CEEC.
The minister further disclosed that government has created and continued to create Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ) at provincial and national levels in Zambia.
He said these MFEZ would be facilities where both local and foreign companies would establish themselves to produce goods required for the economic development of the country.
The minister pointed out that government would also make smaller multi-facility economic zones in districts.
Mr Sichinga disclosed that these are known as district industrial clusters where various manufacturers and companies would work from towards wealth and job creation.
He said local companies should be empowered with adequate equipment through the provision of finances so that they can add value to locally produced products which are found in their districts.
The minister said government would initially create industrial clusters in three districts of each of the ten provinces before spreading out until all the districts in the country have clusters.
And the minister has noted that government was convinced that infrastructural development was a key to stimulating sustainable economic development of the country.
Mr Sichinga said this was the reason government was working on infrastructural development such as roads and telecommunications throughout the country.
During the same workshop, CEEC, Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), and the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency (ZW&MA) presented their mandates and objectives in order for companies to understand their rights and procedures to succeed.