KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
AS ZAMBIA seeks the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme, it is important for Government to consider allocating resources to areas that will increase productivity to avoid choking the economy.
Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) president Roseta Chabala suggests that it is for this reason that Government in the 2017 national budget should consider putting resources in areas that will ensure productivity in the manufacturing industry is not affected.
Mrs Chabala said this during a media briefing on Monday that the association is aware that the expected alleged increase in electricity tariffs and the current increase in fuel prices are likely to pose a negative impact on the industry if Government does not act.
â€œIn the 2017 national budget, what we are calling for is [the] need for Government to put in resources that will ensure that the production levels are not affected and ensure that the economy is not choked,â€ she said.
She said ZAM is cognisant of the importance to increase fuel and the alleged electricity prices but Government should ensure that the supply of power is also sufficient to boost productivity and create jobs.
â€œThis is a tough year again. As Government seeks the IMF bailout programme, we have seen fuel prices increase. I am sure we are anticipating electricity tariffs to increase.
â€œSome of it is inevitable, we cannot say the prices should not increase because this will negatively impact on the power supply [and] we are not against increasing the prices, but what we are against is the idea of increasing [when] there is still no supply because this will negatively affect the manufacturing industry,â€ Mrs Chabala said.
â€œIn the wake of the current economic challenges, it is imperative that Government provides and ensures that there is relief and efficiency in other sectors that will help complement and boost the manufacturing industry in the country,â€ Mrs Chabala said.
â€˜Allocate resources to productive areasâ€™
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka