Manufacturers should be at the centre of economic activities
Published On November 22, 2023 » 1096 Views» By Times Reporter » Business, Columns
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. By Andrew Mulenga

ZAMBIA has observed the 12th annual manufacturer’s month with a call for the manufacturing sector to be placed in the country’s economic activities and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The manufacturer’s month is of huge significance in the Government’s agenda to graduate the Zambian economy into a middle income country through increased contributions from the sector to the GDP
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Chipoka Mulenga says the current contribution from the sector to the GDP is only about eight percent against the 36.1 percent contribution the Government needs to achieve as its objective.
With various highlighted activities to be undertaken during the commemoration of this year’s 12th annual manufacturer’s month, there are high hopes for increased contributions from the sector.
Mr Mulenga says, during the commemoration of the manufacturers month, activities such as the proudly Zambia exposition running from November 21 to 23, this year, with a round table discussion on the sidelines of the exposition is of great importance.
He encourages business players as well as would be business players to attend the trade facilitation conference to share ideas.
“This will provide an opportunity for industry players and potential entrepreneurs that would like to participate in the sector to learn from their counterparts as well as see how their fellows are conducting their business activities,” he says.
Mr Mulenga observes that this has the potential to increase successful players in the industry and subsequently improve the sector’s contributions to the GDP while helping the country achieve the middle income status.
The minister explains that to acquire good living standards for citizens, the manufacturing sector should be more placed in the country’s economic activities and the more successful players are in the industry, the more the contributions grow and the more the economy grows.
He notes that, for instance, Zambia Breweries which is one of the leaders in the manufacturing sector has between last year and this year invested between $80million and $100 million in the expansion of its plants.
This has increased the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP by 0.5 percent from eight percent to 8.05 per cent hence the need for more players to come on board.
Furthermore, the minister says the Government will leverage on the commemoration of the manufacturer’s month to bring more value-added sectors, industries as well as different players in the country.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Lillian Bwalya adds that the annual manufacturer’s month will encourage business linkages and embrace small businesses in the country.
Ms Bwalya says the activities set for the commemoration has provided the much-needed business linkages for the growth of the industrial sector.
“Activities such as the visit to the Copperbelt University (CBU) and many others will play a huge role in export expansion as well as creation of partnerships among academia, Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), large companies also between buyers and sellers,” she says.
Ms Bwalya also reveals that the 12th annual manufacturer’s month has been held under the theme ‘Catalyzing value chains for sustainable growth and not leaving anyone behind’.
She says the theme is timely as it comes at a time when the Government is focusing on growing MSMEs.
In addition, the industry players have also acknowledged the significance of the manufacturer’s month in growing the industry through enhancing information sharing between MSMEs and large companies.
Trade Kings Group public relations manager Bridget Kambobe says the month-long platform which ends on November 24 will create knowledge sharing between SMEs and large co operations.
Ms Kambobe says this is important as SMEs play an important role especially in the supply of raw materials.
She says the manufacturing sector holds the propensity to take the Zambian economy on a global level and observes that the theme aligns perfectly with the group’s promise of improving lives across the country as well as the region.
“We are driven by the vision to contribute to the economic development of our country and the region as a whole without leaving anyone behind,” she says.
Ms Kambobe assures that Trade Kings will remain committed to the role it plays in the manufacturing sector.
She adds that as the group participates in this year’s manufacturer’s month it will showcase its achievements in key components such as industrialization, job creation and social progress.
Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM), the hosts of the event in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry is happy with the stakeholder support towards the successful organization of the platform.
The association’s president Ashu Sagar says Trade Kings group supported the cause with K200 000 while the First National Bank (FNB) Zambia committed K500 000 towards the manufacturers month.
Mr Sagar notes that such partnerships are important because they are a growth mechanism for SMEs as well as the sector as a whole.
ZAM recognises the value of SMEs and MSMEs in the growth of bigger businesses.
Mr Sagar also acknowledges the Government’s commitment to the growth of the manufacturing sector.
“The incentives highlighted in the 2024 national budget for the sector show the commitment the Government has to promoting inclusiveness and growth in the industry,” he says.
Mr Sagar further calls on Zambian citizens to support local manufacturers by buying local products as by doing so they will be helping create employment in the country.
He also says that by promoting local products, Zambians will be ploughing back their money into the local economy hence taking a step towards achieving the middle income economic status.
The manufacturing sector is one of the country’s priority sectors and has huge potential for transforming Zambia’s economy, especially through value addition to the raw materials.
However, information sharing has over the years hindered SMEs and MSMEs in the industry to thrive and usually get limited to the supply of raw materials to large companies that have the technical know-how in value addition.
This year’s manufacturer’s month has set out to bridge this gap and leave no one behind in participating in the industry’s activities

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