Value addition key to development
Published On December 31, 2013 » 5073 Views» By Administrator Times » Business, Columns
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SMEs cornerAs we come to the close of the year 2013, we shall look at the topic that drew a lot of interest among the readers of this column.

Value addition to locally obtained raw materials articles generated a lot of interest among the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and this pointed to the gathered interest of entrepreneurs with the intention of breaking into secondary industries by using the locally obtained materials.

However most of them called back to talk about the challenges faced in this area such as bringing in machinery for production processes and researched information concerning the production procedures of processing the various raw materials.

Early this year, the column sighted countries like China, Malaysia, Singapore and India as some of the countries that have taken the leading roles in enhancing SMEs in the promotion of industrial sectors in their countries resulting in high levels of exports.

The initiatives propagated by individuals in coming up with small-scale industries in these countries have gone to increase their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It is no doubt that some top Government officials who visited some of these countries in 2013 carry with them memories of advanced levels of SMEs in the area of industrial development.

Our country is endowed with natural resources and rich mineral deposits.

Small-scale farmers have made efforts to produce cash crops such as maize, rice, cassava, tobacco, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions among others.

They also rear chickens, pigs, goats, and cattle to mention but a few.

In small-scale mining, mining firms have been involved in mining various precious stones.

All these are back ups to large scale farming and mining taking place in this country, however all these efforts represent primary industries in the sense that they fall in the category of extractive processes.

The issue at hand as we wrap up the year 2013, is the creation of value addition industries using the locally obtained materials from the extractive industries in this country using SMEs.

It was reported sometime back that seven thousand Chinese graduates in the agriculture sector were sent out by the Government for orientation courses but when they came back they were not given jobs and today it is reported that among these are some of the richest Chinese because they went on to set up their own small-scale businesses.

In 2013 the Republican President Michael Chilufya Sata, had to recall the market and auctioning of emeralds which was taking place outside the country.

He ordered the same to be taking place in the country and advised those involved also to add value to the locally produced emeralds for them to even to have more value than being sold in raw form, the results are there for everyone to see.

And at onetime, when he was officially opening the Trade Fair in Ndola, the head of State showed surprise that even when the country had gone 40 years past independence, it was still actively exporting raw copper and recently he ordered the Ministry of Finance to revoke a statutory instrument (SI) that lowered the tax on exporting what he termed as the soil, the heaps of extracted concentrates from the mining underground that contains traces of metals.

The head of State is acting like a visionary economist with a view to support the creation of value addition industries using the locally obtained materials.

When one takes a survey around Lusaka city centre they will notice the constant renovations of buildings and others are already finished, but the common denominator among these buildings is that they are fashioned to accommodate traders who deal in various finished products and all being imported from outside the country.

More than half of the businesses that take place in this country are bordered on buying and selling making this country an import oriented country in finished goods.

The economists will agree with me that although these kinds of businesses will benefit the traders, they do little in adding to the GDP.

After all, they help to create employment in the countries where these goods are imported from.

Iam not suggesting that we stop importing finished goods we need them, but we should also emphasis in the creation of value added industries to increase GDP and create more employment for our young generation.

The Zambia Prison Service has put up a huge milling plant in Kabwe in order for it to be producing mealie-meal and other by products using its own grown maize in prison camps throughout the country.

Silver Catering, a company headed by Mrs Silvia Banda in Lusaka an exciting entrepreneur, is using the locally obtained materials to set up an industry and already has broken into export market.

Zambia Sugar Company uses its own grown sugar cane in the backyard to produce one of the best refined white sugar in the region.

Trade kings uses locally obtained materials to produce Mahehu drink which is exported to neibouring countries.

The year 2013 closes with home work for every one to ponder on creation of value added industries.

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