THERE is no suitable time than now for Zambia to grow her manufacturing industry and help contribute to protecting the economy from the devastating effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which has stirred global economic havoc.
Therefore, the citizenry’s think-tanks need to drive to come together and share knowledge and pool resources to boost the local manufacturing industry.
A foreign driven economy cannot at all times survive global economic shocks and the happenings in the world, which is a wakeup call for the creation of local synergies to fund the production of local goods that can be exported for more economic gains.
The Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) is correct to call for teamwork with other unions to tap into the member’s subscriptions and help to resuscitate Kapiri Glass Manufacturing Limited in Central Province, a town once boasting of vibrancy.
MUZ president Joseph Chewe informed President Edgar Lungu who was on a three-day working visit to the Copperbelt that the labour movement had a tete-a-tete with the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions on the matter.
The intention, worth applauding, is that of wanting to get actively involved in helping to drive the economy, unlike the traditional way of leaving it all to the Government.
It is important to note that MUZ is doing befittingly well in running some investments in the manufacturing, tourism and real estate industries.
The union has successfully established MUZ Milling Company Limited in Chambishi, has invested in the boat cruise that is adding value to the local tourism as well as generating income through office lease at Katilungu House and David Mwila House among others.
So extending the leverage to Kapiri Glass is a timely intervention.
Mr Chewe proposed to the Government to facilitate the process of acquiring a major stake in the glass manufacturing company as the unions are very ready to move in and invest to which President Lungu has agreed to support the proposal.
As stated above, we agree with President Lungu, that with the COVID-19 causing shortages of goods, among other economic shocks – this would be an ideal opportunity to enhance local investments especially in manufacturing.
Like he said, the recent looting of shops in South Africa, which is not a rare happening, was a wakeup call for the citizenry to question whether the country should continue to import various products that are in abundance locally.
Hence, the assurance of the president, that should unions face hurdles the leaders should let him know, is encouraging at the time when local participation in the economy is strongly needed.