By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
UNIVERSAL Mining and Chemical Industries Limited (UMCIL) in conjunction with ZCCM-IH will form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and create an industrial hub for manufacturing steel products and machinery in Zambia.
The concept behind the SPV called the Kafue Iron and Steel Special Economic Zone besides being the main hub of manufacturing engineering products, is to create industries and jobs.
This is according to the UMCIL Executive Technical Director, Julius Kaoma.
Dr Kaoma told a delegation from the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) which toured the Kafue Steel plant that the economic zone to be established in Phande Forest would have five clusters.
He explained that the zone would have heavy industry to concentrate on manufacturing of steel as well as the chemical engineering industry.
The Zone, Dr Kaoma said, would also have a cluster to look at engineering product and another which would concentrate on providing services for industries as well as research and development and innovation.
“We did realise that at the moment, when talking about manufacturing people are always thinking about products but the main component is equipment to manufacture those products
“If you do not have the equipment then you will have to bring them at a high cost. So what we want is for Zambians to fabricate some of these machinery, bring technology from outside, get these machinery and start manufacturing products,” he said.
Dr Kaoma stressed that the zone had attracted investors from countries such as Italy, Russia and China.
He however said these investors had been put on hold following a delay in establishing zone due to land issues which had not yet been finalised.
“The investors at a moment are on hold. I was expecting a delegation from Russia last month in April but because we do not have land, I did not want to bring them here when we have not yet finalised.
“The land has not yet been given despite being surveyed,” Dr Kaoma said.
In response, ZDA Board Chairperson, David Masupa, said the agency would quickly assist to speed up the acquisition of land need for the zone.
“We will definitely try to speed up in your acquisition of this land that you have talked about. We are impressed with your initiatives for starting your plant here. The Phande forest should be acquired as quickly as possible,” Bishop Masupa said.