‘Import limits protecting local industries’

GOVERNMENT says limitation of certain imported goods is a safeguard measure to protect local industries and ensure that some business opportunities are reserved to Zambian small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

 Recently, Zambia restricted the importation of certain products such as fruits and vegetables (which has now been lifted), cooking oil and outlawed the trading in markets by some foreigners, especially those involved in selling food products.
Under the world trade organisation, a member may take a safeguard action that is restricting imports of a product temporarily to protect a specific domestic industry from an increase in imports of any product which is causing, or which is threatening to cause, serious injury to the industry.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe says recent action taken by Government is meant to provide opportunities to local businesses to thrive.
“Whatever action we decide to undertake, it is based on researched data, so if we limit importation of certain goods, it is not a ban per se but a safeguard action to protect local industries as well as availing opportunities to our people,” she said in an interview last week.
Ms Mwanakatwe urged the private sector and the business community to help Government come up with practical solutions in creating a conducive environment.
“Our role as Government is make policies that will facilitate the business community to prosper, so engage us to discuss what you think should be done,” she said.


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