By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA -
ZAMBIAN Breweries Plc has signed a lease agreement with the Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) Limited for the construction of a US$35.2 million malting plant
The agreement signifies the beginning of the building of the malting plant in the MFEZ and intends to create about 45 permanent jobs and numerous others during the construction phase.
This will also enable the company sustain as many as 12,000 rural jobs that are in part dependent on the barley farming programme.
ZB managing director Anele Malumo said to date, investments have been mainly focused on building both capacity and capability.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Lusaka South MFEZ yesterday, Mr Malumo said the company has made significant investments in the demand side of the business.
The company has grown the brewing capacity to current levels of over 17 million hectolitres per annum from just under 1million hectolitres in 2011.
“We are investing $35.2 million in the malting plant that will not only assure Zambian Breweries of quality malt but will also save the country over $10 million in malt import costs annually,” he said.
Mr Malumo said the company was excited not only about the jobs that would be created directly during the construction and subsequent creation of the plant but also about sustaining as many as 12,000 rural jobs.
He said the company is greatly indebted to the various agencies of the Government for supporting the initiative.
Speaking at the same function, Lusaka South MFEZ Limited managing director Fortune Kamusaki said this is the biggest investment so far in MFEZ.
Mr Kamusaki said the malting plant would help diversify the economy away from copper production towards agriculture.
He said 44,000 tonnes of barley would be required with at least 12,000 direct jobs created and approximately 120,000 indirect jobs.This will also promote the export of malt to neighboring countries.
Government prioritised the development of MFEZ and industrial clusters by the public and private sector as one way of up scaling economic development in Zambia.
Over 400 enterprises are expected to set base in the MFEZ in the next few years and create thousands of jobs for the Zambian.
He said so far, MFEZ has received over 90 investor applications.