36 investment applications approved

IN THE quest to spearhead the industrialisation programme, Government through the Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ) has approved 36 applications with an investment of about US$1.5 billion since inception in 2013 to date.
In the period under review, LS-MFEZ has further facilitated for the creation of over 500 direct and about 1,800 indirect jobs.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said Government will continue improving the investment and trade climate in the country through the implementation of various reforms aimed at reducing the cost of doing business.
During the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the British American Tobacco Zambia (BATZ) factory on Tuesday, Mrs Mwanakatwe said Government is committed to developing a private sector-led economy which contributes to wealth creation and poverty reduction.
“Government is cognisant of the fact that continuous policy improvements are required to strengthen the industrial sector in light of greater competitiveness and integration into the world economy,” she said.
Mrs Mwanakatwe said Zambia offers huge investment opportunities not only in the manufacturing and service sectors, but also in energy, tourism, and agriculture and infrastructure development such as construction of roads, bridges, houses and railways, among others.
Commenting on the construction of the tobacco processing factory, she said Government is pleased to witness  multinational companies such as BATZ expand their operations into the manufacturing sector in response to the industrialisation policy, which encourages value addition to local primary resources.
“Therefore, it is our wish that your decision to invest in this LS-MFEZ will give confidence to other businesses, particularly those in your network to come and invest in the zone as well,” Mrs Mwanakatwe said.
Earlier, BATZ acting board chairperson Joseph Chikolwa said the total investment for the construction of the tobacco processing factory will be US$15 million.
Mr Chikolwa said the factory is expected to create about 500 jobs during the construction process and 40 permanent jobs once fully operational.

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