By CHATULA KANGALI -
FIRST Quantum Minerals (FQM) has pledged to give equal opportunities for local businesses to participate in the company’s supply chain.
The mining firm says it is identifying opportunities for local business as part of its drive to increase the amount of goods and services it procures from Zambian suppliers.
FQM government affairs manager John Gladston said the company was providing solutions for small and medium enterprise development in providing economic benefits to the company.
“The mining firm has been running local business development programmes to help remove barriers to small and medium enterprise growth and link local businesses to economic opportunities in North-Western province that is home to the company’s Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi and Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila, along with international market linkages, “he said.
Mr Gladson said Kansanshi mine procured $9.172 billion of goods and services locally from 2011 to 2016, of which $378 million was spent in North-Western Province.
He said last year, the company formalised and trained 83 local businesses from Musele Chiefdom at Kalumbila mine’s Trident Foundation.
Mr Gladson however urged Zambian businesses to focus on areas where they have competitive advantage and increase their manufacturing base.
He said FQM had observed that most small and medium enterprises focus on being traders, with very minimal profit margins.
Mr Gladston said there was potential for Zambian businesses to maximise their opportunities and called for concerted efforts from all sectors.
He added that company was still awaiting approval of the Kalumbila Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) in order to create secondary economic development near its mining activities.
“The promise of the new multi-million-dollar economic zone is set to boost trade and jobs in North-Western Province as part of our efforts to help Zambia attract further local and foreign direct investment,” he said