[By Edwin Mbulo in Mongu]
THE new dawn government has good intentions but unless we tell them what we want these good intentions might not materialise, says Litia Mutemwa.
And Mutemwa says he has a sincere belief that Western Province can do far much better than being Zambia’s least developed area.
Speaking at the Western Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry annual general meeting held at Country Lodge, Mutemwa, who was a trustee in the outgoing committee, said business communities need to come together to protect their interests and lobby the government on various developmental opportunities.
“We have opportunities to generate money and to create jobs for our children. So it is critical that we revive the Chamber of Commerce. If we do that we will succeed. The government has good intentions but unless we tell them what we want these good intentions won’t materialise,” he said.
“The President won’t come to put buhobe (nshima) into my mouth. I should tell him what type of mealie meal I want either that mixed with a little cassava meal or just that of bonyi (miaze).” Mutemwa urged the new Chamber of Commerce executive to go out into the rural areas and identify areas of investment opportunities so that the government can act.
He said the issue of youths “very busy getting drunk and stealing is becoming rife because there are no jobs”.
“Every street corner has been turned into a garage and a welding centre,” he said.
Mutemwa said chambers of commerce need to propose to the government that which is possible.
“Western Province today is the least developed area yet we have many opportunities. We have cattle here, nowhere near what Southern Province has…Botswana and Namibia export beef to Europe, Zambia, no. Western Province zero. Cattle rearing is a business and not tradition,” he said.
Mutemwa added that the Cashew nut business was a money spinner but wondered “what has gone wrong?”
“Why are we failing? We as a chamber of commerce and industry need to engage the government,” said Mutemwa. “The President has banned the cutting of timber by foreigners. It creates a very big opportunity for us to now take over that activity and make money. But this can only be done when we are organised. It is an opportunity for youths to go into timber industry, but what do we need? What help do we require? Rice is one other sector. It is not being utilised. There are opportunities in sugarcane growing, tourism and fish farming.”
Kanyambi Mubonda was elected chairperson after he polled 79 votes beating his only rival Daniel Kamalata who polled eight votes.
Vice-chaiperson is Sanda Maputa who polled 62 against Mwimwanena Mooto and Siwa Mubiana who polled 21 and one vote respectively.
The rest of the executive committee members are Nyambe Muyumbana, Samuel Litebele, Kanyama Imanga and Astridah Mulombwe who are secretary, vice secretary, treasurer and vice treasurer respectively.
Lubasi Nalumango, Lucy Muleya, Rose Sakala and Charles Akende are committee members.