NORTHERN Province permanent secretary Bernard Mpundu says with a very youthful population, Zambia should aspire to become the centre of digital transformation.
He also called for increased use of technology to drive productivity and strengthen resilience in agriculture, manufacturing, health, education and all other sectors of the economy.
During the opening of the Zamtel Kasama customer services centre, Mpundu, in a speech read for him by deputy permanent secretary Sineva Kambenja, said the provincial administration believed that the launch of the service centre would positively contribute to efforts by Zamtel to offer quality customer service in Kasama and nearby parts of the Northern Province.
He commended management and staff at Zamtel for their efforts in providing affordable and quality services to its customers.
“We can confidently say that Zamtel has now positioned itself quite well on the market and is one of those indigenous brands that makes us proud to be Zambian. It is gratifying to see that Zamtel is competing in a highly competitive market but has proven its capabilities for many years and the only thing we can do as Zambians is to support our own brand for it to grow even stronger,” he said.
Mpundu said with the opening of the Kasama Customer Service Centre, he hoped many Kasama residents would take advantage of the location to acquire Zamtel simcards and start enjoying excellent products and services offered by the company.
He said the new dawn government was keen on deepening the digital and knowledge economy in line with the 2021-2026 manifesto.
“As government, we believe that digital transformation will allow Zambia to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Vision of becoming a prosperous middle-income country. We are exploring ways of crafting our collective digital future as a nation and devising national programmes to leverage opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution presents through innovations that will unleash the talents and creativity of Zambians,” he said. “With a very youthful population, Zambia should aspire to become the centre of digital transformation and use technology to drive productivity and strengthen resilience in agriculture, manufacturing, health, education and all other sectors of our economy.”
Mpundu said Northern Province was looking forward to the setting up of provincial innovation hubs that would anchor innovation and digital transformation at provincial levels spearheaded by the Ministry of Technology and Science.
“For us to transform Zambia into a digital economy, players such as Zamtel should rise to the occasion and deliver digital solutions that speak to the needs of our people. The trend of importing digital products and services should be discouraged because we are basically exporting jobs and revenue as a nation,” he said. “As the new dawn administration, we will scale-up investment in broadband capacities, including through public-private partnerships (PPPs), to build a robust, easily accessible and secure government information and communication technology (ICT) environment.”
Mpundu said the government stood ready to work with service providers such as Zamtel to ensure that the roll out of digital infrastructure that was essential to efficient and inclusive service delivery, economic investment and growth was well planned and speaks to the needs of the local people.
“I have just been informed that through the opening of service centres and mini-shops, Zamtel has created over 300 direct jobs and numerous entrepreneur opportunities for Zambians. This is commendable,” he said.
He encouraged Kasama residents, especially the youth, to leverage the opportunities and fully utilise entrepreneurship opportunities that Zamtel was creating through the mini-shops and service centres.
Mpundu said there was no doubt that the customer service centre would meet the aspirations of the people of Kasama and nearby districts.
He said access to communication services was an enabler for development.
Zamtel acting chief commercial officer Keith Banda said the opening of the service centre was in line with the company’s new strategic direction of taking service-access closer to customers.
“We have had physical presence in Kasama at our Kasama exchange but the growing demand for our products in this area required that we open a dedicated and modern facility to meet our customers’ need for quality customer service,” he said.
He said in an effort to increase service access, Zamtel had so far rolled out over 80 mini-shops dotted across the country.
Banda said the Kasama Customer Service centre brings the total number of service centres to 43, excluding the mini-shops.
“As part of our retail expansion drive, we have adopted a unique franchise model through which we are assisting enterprising Zambians to seize opportunities being created in the telecoms value chain. To this date, over 300 direct jobs have been created as more Zambians are taking up the opportunity to partner with Zamtel to run service centres. These new centres have now created in excess of 500 jobs,” he said.
He said the service centres provides a wide range of services including sim purchases, sim registration, sim replacement, airtime purchases, mobile money withdraws and deposits, velocity and other fixed service payments, customer care, and general customer inquiries on products and services.
Banda said these centres were a one-stop-facility for all Zamtel products and services.
“As we start the year 2022, we are excited as Zamtel as we will be rolling out new and innovative products. Our customers should look out for more value based customer service as we continue with our mantra of ‘Customer is King.’ We will continue broadening our footprint, especially in hard to reach areas by commissioning new network towers. We are confident that the project to install 1009 new communication towers will be completed this year,” he said.
He said Zamtel was elated by the government’s desire to create a fully connected Zambia.
“We believe digitalisation has the greatest potential to accelerate Zambia’s development prospects and create the much needed jobs for our people, especially the youths. As Zamtel, we stand ready to work with the Zambian government through the Ministry of Science and Technology in partnership with other independent developers in creating local digital solutions that will address our local challenges,” said Banda.