By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
GOVERNMENT should consider import substitution which will promote locally produced products as it looks to provide more tax relief measures to businesses, Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has said.
Finance Minister, Bwalya Ng’andu, last week said he would soon announce more tax relief measures for the business community meant to ease pressure caused by the current COVID-19.
The measures will be in addition to the recently announced interventions which were put in place three weeks ago, such as suspending the five percent duty on the importation of copper concentrates and export duty on precious metals in the mining sector.
Responding to this announcement, ZACCI president, Chabuka Kawesha, said import substitution measures were unavoidable as it would promote local products.
“So it is important that as Government looks at additional measures import substitutions, where locally produced goods and services should be allowed to lead the way,” Dr Kawesha stressed in an interview.
Dr Kawesha said the locally produced goods must be prioritised over and imported merchandises to allow the local producers get the shelf space, whether in retail or wholesale value chain.
This, he stressed, would ultimately enable local producers and manufactures to sustain their businesses and retain jobs.
Dr Kawesha urged Government to develop a comprehensive list of products that should be import substituted at least for the next 12 months.
“All local producers on the scheme should commit to maintain affordable pricing levels for their products so that the initiative does not end up harming the ordinary Zambians,” he said.
Dr Kawesha explained that such measures would allow local businesses to grow their base, capacities, and enable them to research and develop new markets.
“In terms of incentives, our encouragement to the Government is to bring the issue of import substitutions to the table.
“It is cardinal that we give the restrictions in relation to movement is certain products, there is demand in each market, by market, I mean in country,” he said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU