By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
LOCAL products can only compete favorably on the African continent if manufactured products are complying with the National and International Standards.
Complying with national and international standards is the only effective weapon that will ensure that locally produced compete on the African market, says Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Christopher Yaluma.
He therefore encouraged Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in the country to utilise the services offered by the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to improve the quality of their products as a means to access more profitable markets.
He was speaking when he graced the opening of the ZABS MSME engagement workshop in Kasama recently.
“The certification by ZABS under the certified local supplier scheme is one such evidence of compliance to standards and therefore urged all SMEs to embrace the scheme and maximize the benefits associated with it,” Mr Yaluma said.
He warned that Zambia was at a stage of ratifying the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, that would open the Country up to stiff-er competition for goods produced from other Countries within the continent.
He explained that there was no doubt that the only effective weapon to access the markets would have to ensure that locally produced prod-ucts competed favourably in the African continent was to comply with the National and International Standards.
“As such, I wish to encourage each one of you gathered here to utilize this opportunity to improve the quality of your products as a means to access more profitable markets.” Mr Yaluma said.
ZABS Executive Director, Manuel Mutale, said the Certified Local supplier scheme was a game changer that would help enhance the quality of products manufactured by SMEs.
Mr Mutale said the Bureau was on a mission to various provinces in the country to engage with SMEs so that more products can be certified to the scheme.
“The certified local supplier scheme was launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry and is being implemented by the Zambia Bureau of Standards. Since the launch, 20 SME products have been certified to the scheme and are already on the shelves of chain stores such as Shoprite and Pick & Pay,” he said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU