Lusaka South economic zone ‘looks outside the box’

THE Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ) Limited has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance seeking authority for external funding to undertake various infrastructure projects.
The economic zone is a Government-sponsored venture which is expected to cost US$153.2 million under phase one and US$81.1 million under phase two.
LS-MFEZ Limited managing director Fortune Kamusaki, however, said due to limited funds from Government, it has come up with a plan asking the Ministry of Finance, which is the shareholder, to give a go-ahead to look for financiers to fund the ongoing project.
Dr Kamusaki said this when Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) director general Patrick Chisanga toured the site on Friday.
“Funding from Government is limited, so we are in discussion with potential investors and we have also submitted a proposal to Government for approval to source alternative finance,” he said.
He said attracting investment at the MFEZ requires adequate infrastructure, hence the need for more funding to implement the projects.
Dr Kamusaki said about US$40 million has been injected in infrastructure projects, including roads, from 2009 to date.
He said about 118 companies have expressed interest to invest at the zone and seven companies have since been approved with total investment of about US$62.5 million.
NRB Pharmaceutical Company, which is expected to be commissioned in May, has invested US$10 million and is expected to position Zambia as a medicine manufacturing hub in the region.
Other companies are Zambia Breweries’ malt plant at a cost of US$32.6 million and Zesco Limited which is constructing a power sub-station, while the Zambian Fertilisers, Giant Plastics Limited, Superior Milling Company and Roland Imperial Tobacco are still waiting for the Zambia Environmental Management Agency’s approval.
Dr Kamusaki, however, said lack of proof on availability of finance has prevented some of the companies from investing at the MFEZ.
“There are procedures that need to be followed, for example proof of financing because we need investors who have available finance to undertake particular projects,” he said.
After the tour, Mr Chisanga said there is need to market the zone to attract more investors and also to create an enabling environment for investors as failure to do so will result in investors seeking opportunities in other countries.

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