KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
AGRO-Fuel Investments Limited (AFIL) has urged Government to introduce appropriate safeguard measures to protect the domestic industry from collapse whenever there is an increase in imports of goods due to low tariff offered under the regional free trade area agreements.
AFIL Engineering Limited was among the local manufacturing companies that exhibited at this yearâ€™s Agricultural and Commercial show in Lusaka.
Under its engineering subsidiary, AFIL, formerly Lusaka Engineering Company (Lenco), the company produces drop- side trailers designed for construction purposes, fuel storage tanks and also the municipal skid bin suitable for garbage disposal.
AFIL Engineering Limited also specialises in the manufacturing of various types of trailers, fuel tankers, steel furniture and building accessories for the domestic market for the past 10 years.
In a statement availed last Friday, AFIL states that huge resources have been invested in research and development for the manufacturing of heavy and light duty trailers suitable for the Zambian road conditions.
â€œThe trailer sub-sector supports and complements the growth of local manufacturing sector, provids eemployment and creates business linkages within Zambia and provide substitutes for imported trailers thereby circulating money within the country.â€
â€œThe major challenge is that trailer manufacturers, including AFIL, are unable to compete with imported trailer products mainly due to low prices of imported products,â€ it stated.
According to recent statistics, Zambia imports 1,500 to 2,000 trailers every year, which comprise of both new and second-hand trailers.
It stated that until the introduction of the provisional safeguard measures during the middle of 2015, customs duty structure was in favour of importers and not local producers.
â€œFor instance, trailers produced in SADC and COMESA countries enter Zambia under zero customs duty categories and this has been the key challenge for local producers considering Zambiaâ€™s land-locked or land- linked location and also the fact that cost of doing business in the country is relatively high compared to competitors from South Africa.â€
KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka