By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
GOVERNMENT should put in place strict measures to enhance monitoring of illicit activities as it secures markets for the local industry through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Zambia Association of Manufactures (ZAM) president, Ezekiel Sekele, warned that the country was likely to be negatively impacted due to infant industries and constrained productivity.
Mr Sekele explained that this would potentially transform Zambia’s economy into retail and wholesale activities rather than manufacturing.
Compared to manufacturing, he said, such activities usually supported unimpactful job creation due to minimal staffing on minimal wage.
He was speaking during ZAM submission on Estimates and Revenue and Expenditure for the Financial Year Ending 31st December, 2020 to the Expanded Parliamentary Budget Committee chaired by Mbala Member of Parliament, Mwalimu Simfunkwe.
“Vices such as smuggling and illicit production are also influenced by trade liberalisation and also negatively impact the performance of domestic producers,” Mr Sekele said.
Zambia signed the Framework Agreement establishing AfCFTA on 11th February 2019.
Currently, 54 countries have signed the AfCFTA which is expected to come into force next year and 27 Countries have ratified it.
He said if Zambia was to emerge a winner in this dynamic, capacities of domestic producers needed to be strengthened.
Mr Sekele stressed that would ensure effective integration into international value chains and enforcement against illicit activity.
“This requires capacity building in institutions and firms to enhance product development, market surveillance and export promotion, such as the establishment of market surveillance units throughout our foreign embassies and commissions,” he said.
Mr Sekele had therefore urged the private sector to partner with Government in enhancing monitoring of illicit activity. Government has however indicated in the 2020 National Budget that it would put in place measures to ensure that Zambia benefitted from the continental market under AfCFTA.