By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZAMBIAN suppliers must tap into the over US$4 billion mining value chains where the industry procures goods and services.
Suppliers should take note and tap into the mining value chains as mines procure goods and services in excess of US$4 billion per annum, says Shebo Nalishebo, Economic Statistician and Fiscal Analyst.
Mr Nalishebo indicated that until the second quarter of 2020, the Zambian mining industry played second fiddle to the wholesale and retail trade in terms of its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said in his write up on “Beneath the numbers” that mining had reclaimed its top position and was now the largest contributor to GDP.
“Not only did the mining and quarrying industry surpass Wholesale and Retail Trade in terms of value-added contribution, but by the fourth quarter when trading continued heading south, mining increased its share to nearly a quarter of GDP,” Mr Nalishebo said.
On the booming copper prices, Mr Nalishebo stressed that the copper industry would shape the country’s trajectory in the coming years.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange is trading above US$9,393 a tonne.
He indicated that as global players positioned themselves for this boom, Zambia had this on its radar too.
According to Mr Nalishebo, a buoyant local mining industry would help address the current debt woes.
“Barely floating above debt waters, there are plenty of debt repayments to make in the coming months and years.
“These include liquidating fuel arrears and the public external debt arrears arising from the debt service standstill, and Eurobond principal repayments in 2022, 2024 and 2025-27,” he said.
Mr Nalishebo recalled that Zambia defied the Covid-19 odds to record a “historical high” – production of 882,061 tonnes in 2020 compared to 776,430 tonnes in 2019.
This, he explained, was while global copper output declined by 2.6 percent to 20.1 million tonnes.
“As a result, mining value added increased by eight percent. This is despite the overall economy declining by three percent and going into the first recession in two decades,” Mr Nalishebo said.