By JAMES KUNDA –
Government has modified the approach towards establishment of industrial clusters to enhance wealth and job creation through economic diversification and industrialisation.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Emmanuel Chenda said, Government would now expand the creation of industrial clusters beyond Multi Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) and Industrial Parks.
Mr Chenda said the tactic of restricting industrial cluster expansion to MFEZs and Industrial Parks alone, was too costly and the Government had been struggling to build enough facilities to enhance value addition to the local endowment.
Mr Chenda said the aim was to develop the rural industrialisation programme through creation of value chain clusters.
“Government is now focused to kick-start the rural industrialisation programme where value chain clusters could be created in three districts of each of the ten provinces.
“The pilot project to commence next year under the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) would be rolled out at a cost of K300 million,” Mr Chenda explained.
He said each province has been allocated K30 million by CEEC for the beneficiaries in the three selected districts to add value to any five local endowments.
“Several local endowments such as palm oil, soya beans and fish, have been indentified in selected regions of their abundance and the mandate here is for the local people to add value to these organisms,” he said.
Mr Chenda said establishment of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) would also support investments in such industries which have the capacity to uplift the living conditions of Zambians.
“The key here is uplifting the living condition of our people at the grassroot level by giving them capacity to add value to the country’s abundant natural resources for job and wealth creation,” he said.