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Kabwe’s economic revival on horizon

PRESIDENT Lungu talks to Heriot Property Development Limited project co-ordinator Victor Chimuka (right) during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Kabwe shopping mall. On the left is former Central Province minister Davies Chisopa. PICTURE: CHAMBO NG’UNI

CHAMBO NG’UNI, Kabwe
BY June 29 next year, construction of the US$20 million Kabwe shopping mall will be completed and opened for business in the capital of Central Province.
Heriot Property Development Limited has started constructing the first-ever shopping mall in Kabwe on an eight hectare piece of land on the Great North Road, which initially belonged to Mulungushi Textiles.
To put into reality this ambitious project, President Lungu recently officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site opposite Mulungushi Textiles and Lukanga township.
The fact that President Lungu was on hand to set the project in motion is enough assurance to the people of Kabwe that the project was a reality.
Kabwe shopping mall is the fourth shopping centre that Heriot Property Development Limited is constructing after Cosmopolitan Mall in Lusaka, Chifubu Mall in Ndola, Mukuba Mall in Kitwe and Solwezi City Mall in the capital of North-Western Province.
Officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony, President Lungu said the construction of a mall in Kabwe is an indication that the Patriotic Front government has created a conducive investment climate in the country and it is at the same time a sign that Kabwe is on an economic recovery path.
The closure and privatisation of state-owned enterprises in the 1990s, and later the closure of Kabwe Lead and Zinc Mine, which was under the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, plunged Kabwe into an economic depression.
These developments relegated Kabwe into a ghost town, making the district an unfavourable region for investments.
“Heriot Property Development chose to anchor itself in Kabwe because it has seen that Kabwe is on the upswing. It has seen that there is money to sustain the mall. If Kabwe is not on the rebirth, the investment should have been taken elsewhere,” Mr Lungu observed.
President Lungu said for 25 years, Kabwe has been in “a comatose state”, and this negatively affected the well-being of the people.
He said Government remains committed to working with the private sector in promoting economic growth in the country and that the investment by Heriot Property Development Limited is enough testimony of the confidence that foreign investors have in the country’s economy.
Mr Lungu assured investors that Zambia remains the best country to invest in and the investments of Heriot Property Development Limited will be safe.
“We welcome you to Kabwe and hope you will continue expanding your prosperities in the country,” President Lungu said.
While highlighting the scope of the project, Heriot Property Development Limited project co-ordinator Victor Chimuka shared that the construction of the shopping mall has been on the drawing board for about two years.
“The project that we are witnessing, is a project finally known as the Kabwe shopping mall and will cost US$20 million,” Mr Chimuka noted.
From the date of the groundbreaking ceremony, the project is expected to be executed within nine months and by April 2017, the tenants will be expected to do fittings and decorative works.
During the construction phase, 800 jobs will be created for the local people and a further 300 will be employed when the shopping mall starts operating.
Various stakeholders have welcomed the construction of the mall with the Central Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) saying the development will add value to the economic revival of Kabwe, attract investments and create employment opportunities for the local people.
CCCI president Sydney Tembo commended Government for facilitating the construction of a shopping mall.
“We are happy that although this is a private sector project, the government has taken an interest to ensure that we finally have this facility here in Kabwe,” Mr Tembo said in welcoming the construction of the facility.
Mr Tembo said Kabwe is in need of more investment and that it is encouraging that Government is directing investors to the region.
He said Heriot Property Development Limited has made the right decision to invest in Kabwe.
Central Province permanent secretary Daisy Ng’ambi agreed with Mr Tembo, noting that the construction of the mall will promote economic activities and development in Kabwe.
“The construction of the shopping mall is a reality,” Mrs Ng’ambi said in an interview while commending Heriot Property Development Limited for the initiative.
She said Kabwe is a potential investment region in the country and that the construction of the shopping mall is proof of this.
When opened, Ms Ng’ambi said the facility will create employment opportunities and take various retail services and products that are missing in Kabwe close to the people.
Shoprite is expected to be the anchor shop while Cashbuild, Mr Price, Ackermans, Carnival Furnishers, OK Furnishers, Pound Stretcher, Hungry Lion, Legit and Studio 88 will be among the occupants of the mall.
Commercial banks and prominent fast food outlets will also set base at the mall.
“Of very critical importance are the services the shopping mall is going to bring in terms of decent shopping services,” Kabwe town clerk Ronald Daka said. “It will be a one-stop shopping centre for a variety of goods.”
Currently, Shoprite, which is located in the central business district, is the major one-stop outlet in Kabwe.
“That [construction of the shopping mall] is going to help decongest Shoprite and provide adequate shopping facilities,” Mr Daka said.
Meanwhile, Mr Chimuka said Heriot Property Development Limited is grateful to stakeholders whose contributions made the construction of the shopping centre to become a reality.
The Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the provincial administration, Kabwe Municipal Council and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency are some of the institutions that have been instrumental in facilitating the construction of the shopping mall.
Heriot Property Development Limited is optimistic that when operational, the facility will help decongest Lusaka and provide an opportunity for people in Central Province to access products and services from within Kabwe.
“On June 29, 2017, the mall will officially open its doors to the public. The anchor shop will be Shoprite,” Mr Chimuka said.

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