TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) has called on Government to focus on the promotion of value addition of non-traditional export
(NTEs) products to enhance the local sector.
ZAM chief executive officer Chipengo Zulu said despite the rise in copper price on the international market, Government should not lose its focus of promoting diversification.
On Wednesday, copper prices rose for a fourth day to the highest to trade at US$6,327 a tonne in about two years on expectations of strong economic growth in China and news of Chinese restrictions on scrap imports that would increase demand for imported refined copper.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ms Zulu said promotion of value addition to NTEs will contribute to the growth of the local manufacturing sector and earn the country the much-needed foreign exchange.
“In light of the recent high copper price on the London Metal Exchange, Government should not be swayed to stop the promotion of value addition to NTEs and other sectors to promote the diversification of the economy from copper,” she said.
Ms Zulu said the promotion of value addition to NTEs will compel local manufactures to venture into the production of the products.
On Tuesday, Ministry of Finance Felix Mutati in the mid-year performance results announced that NTEs declined on account of a reduction in exports of maize, gemstones, cotton lint and wheat.
Meanwhile, Ms Zulu commended Government for the positive economic indicators such as stability of the Kwacha, single digit inflation and a reduction in interest rates.
She attributed the gains to a number of economic measures Government have implemented to stabilise the economy.
Currently, the monetary policy rate is at 12.5 percent while the average commercial bank lending rate is about 44 percent and the Kwacha is trading at about K8.80 while inflate is still in single digit.