PROTECT LOCAL PRODUCERS

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Dear Editor,

THE current economic turbulence is surely not user friendly to an average Zambian regardless of our political affiliation.

Desperate and difficult times require radical decisions to be made in the best interest of the country Zambia and its citizenry.

The general mood on the ground is that people are complaining about lack of money in circulation, lack of both business and employment opportunities which seem to have been taken over by foreign investors and the rise in commodity prices.

To cushion government from so many complaints coming from the people on the ground, I was of the view that the following steps can be taken to promote and support our SMEs, local industry at the same time keep money in circulation.

STEP 1: Revisit the current procurement laws which clearly do not favour an average Zambian to venture into business, but supports the already established or foreign investors to enjoy the lion’s share leaving Zambians to watch in the terraces as the national cake is being enjoyed mercilessly.

The threshold of K50, 000 which is being used as a benchmark for a business deal to qualify for tender should be adjusted to K100,000 and made strictly for Zambians as one way of supporting and promoting SMEs.

All tenders up to the maximum of K2 million should strictly be made for Zambians only as one way of encouraging capacity building on already established Zambian owned business entities directly keeping money in circulation.

Recently, there was a tender at Zesco for K2 million Zambians where bidding in the range of K1.5m to K2m.

A Chinese company came with a bid of K1.1m. How do you honestly expect Zambians to fairly participate?

Yes, it might sound cheaper but that money will be shipped out of Zambia. We need money to remain in circulation.

In terms of payment, SME’s should be paid strictly within 30 working days upon delivery as one way of supporting and promoting them, and all Zambian companies should be given the first priority to be paid in full before foreign companies are paid to ensure growth of Zambian owned companies, directly keeping money in circulation.

Zambian-owned companies should be given the first priority in terms of awarding tenders unless there is proof that they lack capacity to deliver.

STEP 2: Ban the importation of goods and services that can be produced locally as one way of supporting our local industry, keeping money in circulation, creating both employment and business opportunities for Zambians.

I appeal to relevant ministries to seriously consider this article and put it into action.

 MAXWELL CHONGU,  PF Die Hard

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