Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Richwell Siamunene has observed that cheap imported products, mostly from European countries, were responsible for the collapse of the manufacturing industry in Zambia.
Mr. Siamunene noted that the Zambian market has been flooded with cheap and poor quality imported products that were affordable to the consumers.
He said this has however led to the collapse of the local manufacturing factories.
The Deputy Minister was speaking in Ndola in the Copperbelt province yesterday shortly after he toured Excel Textile Zambia Limited that recently shut down production due to lack of market for its products.
Excel Textile Zambia Limited of Ndola, which has been operating in Zambia since1994, shut down production this year leaving approximately 350 people without jobs.
The textile company has all the state of the art machinery to make tents for all occasion, bed sheets and mutton clothes but has been crippled because all its clients have opted to import similar products
from outside Zambia.
from outside Zambia.
Mr. Siamunene charged that the tendency by Zambian consumers to prefer foreign products over the locally produced goods has contributed greatly to the demise of not only Excel Textile but even other manufacturing companies in Zambia.
He expressed dismay that machinery worth millions of Kwacha at Excel Textile Zambia limited was not being used to benefit the country.
He stated that government will seek measures to ensure that local manufacturing industries were promoted as they play a critical role in the creation of decent and permanent jobs for local people.
The deputy minister also appealed to the public to consider buying local products as a way of empowering local companies and help create jobs for their fellow Zambians.
Mr. Siamunene said government will direct ministries and government departments to be procuring local products and not foreign products so that local manufacturing companies can have market from within the company.
He has since pledged that he would direct the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to thoroughly inspect and certify all goods entering the country so that Zambia is not used as a dumping ground.
He said although ZBS has of late been in action, it needed to step up its efforts so that all imported poor quality products on the Zambian market are wiped out.
And Excel Textile Zambia Limited Manager Ravi Patel disclosed that over US$5 million has been invested into the machinery which is just laying idle in the factory.
Mr. Patel said his company has the capacity to make tents that could be used for all occasions but cheap imported products that enter the Zambian market have disadvantage Excel Textile as the consumers have preferred cheap poor quality tents.
At the time of the tour yesterday, the company premises had no workers except for the security personnel who are guarding the equipment.
Earlier, the Deputy Minister of Commerce and his team toured Pick ‘N’ Pay at Jacaranda Mall in Ndola and met management there.
Mr. Siamunene and the team from the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency conducted an inspection and weighed some products to see if their weights were accurate.
And the team also inspected Kobil Filling Station where it was discovered that one machine was under filling by about 20mls and immediately closed the machine awaiting calibration so that it could fill correct measures of fuel to customers.