‘Duty on imported trailers to boost competitiveness’

AFIL Engineering Limited says the recent introduction of 15 percent duty on imported trailers will help boost the competiveness of local producers.
AFIL Engineering Limited business development manager Sajeev Nair said local manufacturers have for a long time failed to meet their production capacity and compete favourably because of the influx of trailers which enter the Zambian market at zero rate under the Southern Africa Development Community agreement.
The influx of second-hand trailers from the United Kingdom, which enter the market at low duty, has also affected the growth of local manufacturers.
Mr Nair said the introduction of the new law under the safeguard measures will mitigate challenges local industries face in their quest to contribute to the industrialisation of the country.
“On average, about 1,000 trailers enter the Zambian market annually and this affects us. There is need for a level playing field so that we can compete favourably with imported products,’’ he said when ministry of commerce, trade and industry director of industry Tobias Mulimbika toured the company on Wednesday.
Mr Nair said Afil Engineering Limited has the capacity to produce about 560 trailers annually but is producing below capacity due to the stiff competition from imported trailers.
Last year, the company produced only 32 trailers while it produced about 200 in 2012.
The company produces, among other products, fuel tankers, transport trailers, tippers and flat-bed and low-bed trailers.
He also said the continued load shedding is negatively affecting the company as it is using 80 litres of diesel per hour to power the generator.
Mr Nair also appealed to Government to assist in engaging foreign experts to train locals so that the quality of products can meet international standards.
Earlier, Mr Mulimbika said Government is expected to develop a centre of excellence which will provide training in metal fabrication and welding to enhance value addition, competiveness and job creation.

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