Editor's Comment

IDC walks the talk


THAT the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has created over 4,000 jobs through its agriculture, agro-processing and renewable energy projects in some parts of the country between 2017 and last year is not only commendable but validates the value of its establishment.
The IDC was established to create and maximise long-term shareholder value as an active investor and shareholder of successful state-owned enterprises, as well as to undertake industrialisation and rural development activities through the creation of new industries.
“IDC was formed with the mandate of transforming loss-making companies transferred from Ministry of Finance and to act as an investment arm for Government. It has established new enterprises under its investment arm mandate and 4,370 jobs have been created.
“The projects in which these jobs have been created include solar projects in Central, Copperbelt and Lusaka; food processing projects in Eastern and North-Western provinces; and farming and agro-processing in Western, Central and Luapula provinces,” Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu said.
The creation of the over 4,000 jobs is indeed evidence that IDC is working tirelessly to fulfil its mandate and that its efforts are bearing fruit.
In a country where unemployment levels are high, such initiatives make a whole difference and must be encouraged.
Four thousand jobs go a long way in not only improving livelihoods but contributing to national development through taxes.
When four thousand people are empowered with jobs, their families and those close to them tend to benefit, too.
Through these jobs, many families will benefit through daily provisions, education sponsorships and access to quality health, among others.
For others, it will be an opportunity to raise capital to start small businesses, thereby increasing economic activities and subsequently reducing poverty levels.
The need to have more of such initiatives cannot be overemphasised considering the high levels of unemployment and poverty.
It is a known statistic that over 60 percent of Zambians are living below the poverty datum line.
Zambia is in a hurry not only to reduce poverty levels, but also to ensure that it attains the Vision 2030 of becoming a middle-income country.
This agenda fits very well in IDC’s three-fold strategic focus. Firstly, the IDC seeks to reposition the existing portfolio by recapitalisation, changing the business models, optimising asset utilisation and divesture. Secondly, it seeks to invest in companies and industries that can leverage Zambia’s natural resource and other endowments to develop a strong home base. Thirdly, the IDC positions itself as a partner of choice for joint ventures and facilitator of citizen involvement in industrialisation through support of local high impact, growth enterprises.
It is also hoped that the private sector will take advantage of the opportunities floated by IDC to invest in various sectors in line with the five priority sectors as outlined in the Industrialisation and Job Creation Strategy. These are manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, and information and communications technology.
It is also good that in an effort to create and maximise value for its shareholders, IDC has been working to transform companies under its ambit from loss-making to profit-making.
Currently, IDC has 34 companies under its management, out of which 22 are profitable while 12 are loss-making.
It is indisputable that IDC is slowly but surely turning tables of companies under its care. This is because loss-making companies under its management have reduced from 25 in 2016 to 12 in 2018, representing 100 percent improvement.
This is a major turnaround for some state-owned enterprises which have struggled to break even over a long period due to various factors.
IDC must be applauded for initiatives to facilitate stimulation of some companies which were in ‘comatose’ for a long time.
For instance, from 2017 to date, the corporation has disbursed over K275 million in shareholder loans as a measure to recapitalise loss-making organisations under its management.
It is no wonder the number of loss-making companies under its care has reduced tremendously.
It is, therefore, hoped that IDC will continue to offer financial and strategic support to companies under its umbrella to ensure that more, if not all, transition from loss-making to profit-making.
Needless to say, the more viable the companies become, the more job opportunities they create.
And where companies and businesses are thriving, economic growth is also certain.


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