FOR as long as our exports are less than our imports in both quantity and value, we will always need more Kwacha to convert to dollars to be able to import goods and services.
Any national strategy on industrialisation and job creation must also adequately tackle the aspect of importing too many goods and services.
In my opinion, emphasis should also be placed on how to increase local production of goods that are predominantly imported.
My suggestion to the government is;
1. List down all the items that constitute our major imports;
2. Quantify these items in terms of how much we import;
3. Calculate how much we are spending in importing these items so that we know the cost;
4. Interrogate the possibility of these items been manufactured locally so that we limit imports;
5. Put in place a strategy to provide quality assurance if these goods will be made locally in future;
6. Work with the private sector to develop an action plan for industry to be able to produce these normally imported goods locally;
The first objective of these suggestions is not to do away with imports but to attempt to reduce the quantum of imports and in the process strengthen our local currency.
7. Apart from identifying new forex earners, we should also enhance the production of our existing exports to levels that would bring in more forex.
I am certain that one of the outcomes of such steps would also be the creation of jobs locally.