By JAMES KUNDA –
THE Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI) has called for an immediate ban on imported textile raw materials to help revive the local industry.
Continued imports of raw materials such as cotton for example, has impacted on the the country’s textile industry and that, Government should enforce a ban to revive the dormant sector.
KDCCI president Raj Karamchand said in an interview that the continued importation of cotton had chocked the country’s textile industry to the extent that it was difficult to revive fabric factories.
Mr Karamchand said companies such as Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles (ZCMT) and Mukuba Textiles had collapsed because the country had become highly dependent on cheap imported garments.
He said Zambia had the capacity to produce over 100,000 tonnes of cotton per annum and hence needed to revitalise the country’s textile value chain.
“To revive the textile industry, there is need to ban the importation of raw materials such as cotton because this country had the capacity to produce this crop predominantly in Chipata.
“So, the raw material is readily available locally and all that needs to be done is to restrict the importation of cheap fabrics so that our textile industry is fully revived,” Mr Karamchand said.
He said in the event that a trade embargo could not be fully imposed on cotton, Government should then increase the import duty on the commodity.
“The textile industry has the capacity to create many jobs in spinning, yarning, tailoring and all that is required is to empower the local people by improving the value chain by phasing out imports,” he said.
And Mr Karamchand had urged Government to, in the long run, put a trade embargo on cheap second hand clothes.
He said this was because when the textile industry became viable again, the country would boast of proudly Zambian made clothes which could be sold locally and abroad.