By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
GOVERNMENT is developing the Local Content Bill to address the weak inter-sectorial linkages that have contributed to lag in industrial development.
The Bill will mainly address the promotion of utilisation of local products and services in the manufacturing and key productive sectors of the economy.
This is according to the Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Christopher Yaluma, at the Local Content Conference held in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Yaluma said his Ministry was open to receiving submissions from the manufacturers so as to collectively explore ways of addressing the identified bottlenecks.
He said despite the various initiatives undertaken by Government, local content had remained low in almost all the sectors, which can be attributed to various challenges among them perception against local goods and services.
Mr Yaluma revealed that a number of studies had showed weak linkages between the manufacturing sector and other key productive sectors.
For example, the Mining Local Content Study done by the International Council on Mining and Metals on six Zambian mining firms revealed that only about US$100 million out US$1.8 billion was directed to the local manufacturing industry.
In response to the weakening economic performance, Mr Yaluma said, Government has put in place an Economic Recovery Programme aimed at restoring economic growth to three per cent by 2022.
On the conference, Mr Yaluma was happy that the conference seeks to boost the performance of the manufacturing industry through strengthening linkages between the local manufacturing industry and other sector.
“Such efforts are important in contributing to the attainment of the goals of the Economic Recovery Programme. I also note that the conference has incorporated a mini-expo to showcase locally made products, he said.
The conference was held under the theme “Leveraging Local Content to promote Industrialisation in Zambia.”
Proudly Zambian Campaign chairperson, Roseta Chabala, said despite the domestic market growing in the recent past, the growth has not translated into equivalent growth in business opportunities for local producers.
Ms Chabala said a huge part of the country’s domestic market is still dominated by imported products both legitimate and illicit. She, however, said progress has been made in integrating into supermarket chain stores, there is still a lot more that needs to be done.
Meanwhile, ZAM Chief Executive Officer, Florence Muleya, said manufacturing continues to be one of the key sectors with the potential to create jobs and contribute to economic development.