By KAIKO NAMUSA –
BANK of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Michael Gondwe says the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) which Government plans to introduce will trigger job creation and drive the economy forward.
Speaking when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Gondwe said the IDC, if properly implemented, would help improve the economy for the benefit of the Zambians.
The committee was chaired by United Party for National Development (UPND) Siavonga Member of Parliament, Kennedy Hamudulu.
Dr Gondwe, who was responding to UPND Mazabuka Central MP, Garry Nkombo who wanted to know whether the IDC would better the economy, said the initiative was another vehicle which Government could use as a tool to foster economic growth as well as create employment.
“In my view the IDC is an effort to look at how best to grow the economy and not entirely depend on the private sector, and certainly when properly implemented, it will help the economy and divert the country towards inclusive growth, which the private sector cannot do,” he said.
Dr Gondwe also said the target set by Government to create 200, 000 jobs was attainable, especially in view of the improved investment climate in the country.
He said according to the Central Statistical Office, formal employment in Zambia had during the last five years increased by about 65.7 per cent, to 847, 419 employees in 2012 from 511,338 employees in 2008.
He said the biggest number of additional jobs was recorded in the trade, wholesale and retail distribution sector where 81,659 jobs were added.
This was followed by the transportation, storage and communications as well as manufacturing sectors, where 48, 208 and 36, 891 jobs were created, respectively, while the construction sector was in fourth position at 22, 787 additional jobs.
Acting Chief Government spokesperson, Fackson Shamenda says the move to establish the IDC is part of Government’s overall economic agenda.
Mr Shamenda allayed fears that the country would return to a monopolistic and State-controlled economy.
He said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that the IDC was aimed at improving people’s living standards through rigorous and robust job creation as espoused in the Patriotic Front manifesto.
Mr Shamenda said while the concept and objective of the former Industrial Development Corporation under the UNIP administration and the proposed IDC could be similar, the economic environment then and now was totally different.
“The doubts and fears being expressed by some people that the introduction of the proposed IDC will stifle the private sector and return the country to monopolistic and State-controlled economy are unfounded and unjustified,” Mr Shamenda said.
He said Government was not ‘resurrecting’ INDECO but establishing a whole new public holding company, necessitated by present realities.
He said the IDC would come with a new strategic vision and mandate to be an alternative engine of growth.