By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
INCREASING the demand for locally produced goods promotes an entrepreneurship culture needed to fast-track Zambia’s economic recovery in the post Covid-19 period.
Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) vice president for South, Chipego Zulu, stressed the need to create an enabling environment within which small scale businesses could thrive.
Ms Zulu said entrepreneurship was of great importance to the achievement of national aspirations such as the National Vision 2030 and the National Development Plans.
“Increasing the demand for locally produced goods practically promotes an entrepreneurship culture and has the capability to harness the growing youthful population into productive activities thereby creating new jobs.
“Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be forward thinking and create an enabling environment within which small scale businesses can invest and thrive,” she said in an interview.
Ms Zulu said fast-tracking Zambia’s economic recovery post Covid-19, would require an approach that harnessed the informal sector.
She said the approach should include empowering women and youth to contribute sustainably to economic growth.
Ms Zulu said a growing amount of research indicated that countries that failed to address gender barriers lost out on significant economic growth opportunities.
She said in the midst of Zambia’s response to Covid-19, recovery must focus on supporting the businesses that kept the economy running.
“Zambia has a vast number of female ran informal businesses that if adequately harnessed could result in the sustainable economic growth in the medium to long-term,” she said.
In this regard, Ms Zulu welcome the move by the Ministry of Finance to release K10 billion in to small and medium enterprises such as small-scale manufacturing firms.
She explained that this was a step in the right direction likely to assist in aiding small firms survive the brunt of the pandemic.
“Additional measures will need to be undertaken in the medium to long-term to aid,” Ms Zulu said.
She also said the provision of technical advice and financial training to entrepreneurs remained as pertinent as ever to enhance women economic contribution to Gross Domestic Product.
Ms Zulu said this would done by ensuring that they formally registered their businesses and were able to benefit from financial support and ultimately contribute to the fiscus.
“The creation of a conducive business environment will enable small scale entrepreneurs the opportunity to maximize their profit and satisfaction respectively.
The current drive for the procurement of locally manufactured “products is therefore a key intervention as it creates a sure market for the sale of value-added products,” she said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU