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Manufacturing a key driver in govt industrialisation agenda – Mulenga

COMMERCE minister Chipoka Mulenga says government has prioritised the manufacturing sector as a key driver of the industrialisation agenda that seeks to promote sustainable economic growth through facilitating trade and investment as well as enhancing the competitiveness of locally manufactured products

Flagging off the 10th annual manufacturers week, Chipoka said the manufacturing sector is a driver of productivity, growth and innovation which are critical elements that contribute to the country’s industrialisation agenda.

“It is important to note that this sector also serves as a key source of employment for many Zambians as it accounts for 7.9 per cent of total employment in Zambia as of today,” he said. “Over the period 2011-2020, the manufacturing sector recorded an average growth rate of 4.5 per cent and an average contribution of around seven per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP),
over the same period.”

Mulenga said despite the many challenges that have affected the manufacturing sector over the last few years, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is gratifying to note that many of the country’s manufacturers aggressively fought through the hard times and diversified into producing other products such as hand sanitizers and surface disinfectants as a way to stay afloat both in the domestic and regional markets.

He said with such levels of commitment and initiatives from local manufacturers, “it is no doubt that as a country there is impressive potential to rebuild and strengthen Zambia’s economy into one that is broad-based with a strong manufacturing sector as its backbone”.

He said the government had identified and prioritised the manufacturing sector as one of the key drivers of the industrialisation agenda that seeks to promote sustainable economic growth through facilitating trade and investment as well as enhancing the competitiveness of locally manufactured products.

“It is against this backdrop that the new dawn government is delighted to participate and support this year’s manufacturer’s week that has been hosted over the years by the Zambia Association of Manufacturers,” Mulenga said.

The edition runs from November 15 to 19 under the theme “Accelerating Economic Transformation through Value Addition”.

“To achieve sustained economic development and become a prosperous middle-income country by 2030, we must rapidly transform the structure of our economy through industrialisation as espoused in the new dawn government’s strategic vision for the manufacturing sector which aims to lay the foundation for a steady rise in manufacturing output to at least 15 per cent by 2026 and 25 per cent by 2031 thereby stimulating economic growth and creating decent employment for our citizens,” Mulenga said.

He said under the new dawn government, economic transformation would be the over-arching framework that will bring together interventions in the various sectors to create the much-needed decent jobs for citizens.

Mulenga called for economic transformation from one characterised by heavy dependence on primary commodities and exports of low value-added products to one that is characterised by high value-added exports.

He said the manufacturing sector plays a crucial role in attaining the country’s aspirations for economic transformation and sustainable development.

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