Business News

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:15:23 +0000

Promote investment partnerships to spur economic benefits-ZTP

BY MAILESI BANDA

GOVERNMENT should promote investment partnerships between local and foreign investors to enhance economic benefits from natural resources, Zambia Tax Platform Chairperson Lewis Mwape has said.

Mr Mwape noted that most of the investment opportunities in Zambia were in the mining sector adding that minerals were diminishing assets which would soon diminish leaving the country without any direct benefits.

He stated that the most direct way for the locals to benefit would be through partnerships that would empower them into growing the economy.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Mwape wondered why foreign investors were given tax holidays in sectors where locals were struggling to get investment.

He called for transparency in the awarding of tax incentives to foreign investors stating that the way the incentives were being given was questionable.

“I wonder why we should be giving tax holidays to foreign investors when there are local business people that are struggling to invest in the same sectors. The government should ensure transparence in the allocation of these tax incentives as they are compromising local investors, “he said.

He suggested that before tax incentives were given to foreign investors, government should look at the direct economic benefits Zambia would derive from them.

He explained that the natural resources which included minerals belonged to the Zambian people, to whom the government should be accountable.

He stated that while it was important to attract investment through tax incentives, direct economic growth should be a priority.

He called for the strengthening of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) legal framework for them to monitor the allocation of the special incentives.

He noted that it was unfortunate that a country like Zambia with foreign investments remained poor.

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Kwacha gains against US dollar

 

By SHEILA SAKUPWANYA

THE Kwacha made a comeback against the U.S Dollar on Monday, 20th March, tracking other emerging market currencies which also appreciated against the greenback.

The currency pair was mostly stable in early trade, opening at K9.600 / K9.650 and on the back of minimal activity from both buyers and sellers.

This is according to the Cavmont Bank market trend report released to Daily Nation yesterday. However, the report indicates that mid-day, the local unit was boosted by improved supply from corporate sellers and was being quoted at K9.550 and K9.600.

Meanwhile, the Kwacha closed at K9.510 / K9.560, reporting a K0.09 stronger than the day’s opening levels.

On the other hand, Commercial banks’ aggregate current account balance decreased by K120.52 million to K1, 329.20 million while the overnight borrowing and lending rate was dropped by 0.09 percent at 13.62 percent.  And the Cavmont market trend report indicates that the total funds that were traded on Interbank were K422.50 million.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank return was conducting open market operations (OMO) and was looking to reduce market liquidity by K100 million while the accepted rates were averaging 7.4 percent.

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Make life insurance to employees mandatory

By MAILESI BANDA

GOVERNMENT should consider passing a law that will compel employers to provide mandatory life insurance to their employees, Liberty Life Insurance Zambia managing director Mark Gobie has said.

Mr. Gobie said as part of financial inclusion, it was important that Zambia joined most countries in the world that had made the life insurance a mandate for employees.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Gobie said making life insurance mandatory was possible in Zambia.

“It is possible for all formally employed Zambians to have life insurance. All that is required is for the Government to pass a legislation making it mandatory for all employers to provide insurance for their employees,” he said.

He said insurance penetration in Zambia was still low, adding that it stood at only two percent growth annually.

He explained that in 2015 the growth of the insurance sector was only 12 percent against the expected growth of 24 percent, adding that since then the growth has remained at about two percent.

He said that although the premium income had increased, the number of Zambians taking individual insurance had remained flat.

He said information on the products available in the insurance sector was not available to the people, hence the need for insurance companies to invest more in marketing their products.

“There is need for more education about the products on the market for the average Zambians because most of the people are not informed about the benefits of insurance products such as how it could create wealth,” he said.

He said Government regulators and insurance companies needed to invest more in educating people about the benefits of having insurance.

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SADC harmonises criteria facilitating fish trade

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

ELEVEN criteria of fish and fisheries related products aimed at facilitating free trade among the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member States have been harmonised.

Harmonisation of standards is a process of minimising conflicting standards whose goal is to find commonalities, identify critical requirements that need to be retained and provide a common standard for all.

The decision was made when various heads of National Standards Bodies (NSBs) in the SADC region met at the 32nd SADC Technique Barriers to Trade (TBT) cooperation structure meeting in Swaziland recently with a view to promoting trade amongst member states.

Some of the harmonised products include the standard on fresh fish and chilled fish, quick frozen fish fillets, canned sardines and sardine type products as well as fish sausage specification.

SADC is also working towards lobbying for harmonising of standards in Africa as a whole so that products that were acceptable could have a continental free trade area.

This is according to the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) head of marketing and public relations, Hazel Zulu.

Commenting on the development, ZABS director, Manuel Mutale, said harmonisation of standards was a good initiative which should be embraced.

Mr Mutale had since urged local manufacturers, traders and suppliers trading in fish and other fisheries products to access and take advantage of the SADC harmonised standards and export their products in the region.

“ZABS would also like to see a situation where once a product is tested in Africa. It should be acceptable everywhere because African products have the potential to compete favourably with other international products on the market,” he said.

Mr Mutale said ZABS was aware that the harmonisation of standards would enable member states conduct business amongst themselves with ease and this would boost trade within and outside the SADC region.

“ZABS would therefore like to urge the Zambian manufacturers, traders and suppliers trading in fish and other fisheries products to access and take advantage of the SADC harmonised standards to export their products in the region and be the flag bearers of these standards,” he said.

Mr Mutale has since urged all heads of quality institutions in the region to embrace the initiative.

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