Editor's Comment

Industry critical to economic growth

YESTERDAY’S commissioning of the upgraded soya bean crushing plant at Global Industries Limited in Ndola confirms Government’s multi-dimensional approach to growing the economy.
Zambia has placed agriculture, industrialisation and tourism high on its economic development agenda, both in the medium and long term, to alleviate poverty among majority citizens.
The strategies are away from the main foreign exchange earner – copper – on which the country has been depending for more than five decades. But the volatility of prices on the international market and the fact that copper is a wasting asset meant that Government had to move away from a single-commodity-driven economy.
All aspirations of Zambia are espoused in the Seventh National Development Plan, a subset of Vision 2030, which envisions a middle-income industrial nation in which the people’s well-being and opportunities are fairly well provided.
Development should be sustainable and that can only be achieved if it is dynamic and at the same time resilient to external shocks. It should also support the economic value chain – from raw material to finished product.
And that is precisely what Zambia witnessed in Ndola yesterday when President Edgar Lungu commissioned the soya bean crushing plant at Ndola’s Global Industries.
The company has invested about US$115 million in the plant and factory to add value to soya beans, one of the crops Government is promoting.
The company has also invested over US$60 million in the establishment of the state-of-the-art solvent-based technology in the crushing plant, which will produce 1,000 metric tonnes per day.
As President Lungu said, this development resonates with Government’s policy on value addition within and is in line with the nation’s broader ambition of accelerated diversification agenda.
The company’s total installed capacity of soya bean crushing is 300,000 metric tonnes per year and the plant is running at 80 percent of its installed production capacity.
It produces about 160 metric tonnes per day of crude edible oil, which is then refined into 152 metric tonnes of refined edible oil.
The company is also involved in the production of a wide range of agro– products such as edible oils, soaps, fats and soya meal.
The production of soya meal, which is used in animal feed, has resulted in price reduction of animal feed on the local market. Business linkages with animal feed-producing companies have also been created.
The company has employed more than 300 people directly and over 2,000 indirectly.
This is a massive investment, especially that the company sources more than 90 percent of its major raw materials, mainly soya bean, from local farmers.
The longer the value chain, the more people will be uplifted from poverty. It is such industries that boost the agriculture sector.
Government should, therefore, be commended for creating a positive investment climate for companies such as Global Industries to invest.
Citizens have been empowered to sustain their livelihoods; to meet major obligations such as putting food on the table, paying medical bills and school fees. Needs are easier to meet when industries can thrive; when the economy flourishes.
It is worth noting that President Lungu recently launched other mega companies on the Copperbelt that created hundreds of jobs.
Some of these are the US$458 million Central African Cement in Masaiti, a cement-manufacturing factory with two 20 megawatts coal fire thermal power plants; a partnership venture between ZCCM-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) and China Machinery Industry Construction Group.
A US$100 million power cable plant by a private company, Neelkanth Cables Limited, in Masaiti, was also recently launched to signify Government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment in which the private sector plays a big part to grow the economy.
Such are politics that put people’s economic welfare first. These are good politics.

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