ZAMBIA - Government has challenged local producers and suppliers to take advantage of the recently signed bilateral trade agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to contribute to the economic transformation of the country.
On August 6, last year Zambia and DRC signed a bilateral trade agreement which opened up market opportunities for Zambian producers and agribusiness players to export to the country’s market by ensuring that selected Zambian products enter the Congolese market without paying any duty.
Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame said there was need for local producers to take advantage of the agreement and contribute to the economic transformation of Zambia.
Ms Kayula said during the official launch of the Private Enterprise Programme – Zambia (PEPZ)’s Business Linkages Programme (BLP) induction process for seven local entrepreneurs working to supply Zambia’s largest chain store, Shoprite Zambia.
“Last year we signed the Zambia-Congo bilateral trade agreement which opens up huge market opportunities for Zambian producers and agribusiness players by ensuring that selected Zambian products enter the Congolese market without paying any duty.
“I would like to urge local producers to take advantage of this and contribute to the economic transformation of Zambia,” she said. Ms Kayula further applauded the PEPZ for its continued effort on promotion of local procurement to change the country’s supply chain landscape.
“It’s about time we see more local suppliers participating in their economy, thank you to PEPZ for their sustained effort. These are the practical and tangible results we would like to see.
It is Government’s goal to see all Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) participate in their economy and we also commend Shoprite for being a model to other large chain stores,” Ms Siame said.
Shoprite Zambia general manager, Charles Bota expressed excitement at the idea of local SMEs supplying good quality products to the chain-store.
“Part of Shoprite’s policy is to support local products without necessarily dropping our standards. We are stepping up our efforts to procure more local products and with the help of PEPZ, we believe many of the hindrances will be alleviated,” he said.
The businesses on the PEPZ programme include Chankwakwa Limited, Dytec Limited, Das Honey, Lumuno, Wanzana, Premier GreenView, and SM Stationary.
February 18, 2016; http://www.times.co.zm/?p=79594