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Prospective Zambian law to empower local suppliers

Zambia is working on a new that legislation that will give local suppliers and contractors a fair share of procurement in the mining sector.

Mr. Musukwa said during a meeting with suppliers, labour unions and other officials on the proposed law that the mining sector imported goods and services worth over $4 billion annually but only 10 percent went to local suppliers.

 According to him, not much has been done to promote local firms’ participation in the mining sector despite hyped talk on industrialization as most goods procured by mining firms were imported and not manufactured locally. 

“This is a mismatch and must not be entertained. Mining investors have been a darling of foreign contractors,” Musukwa said, without specifying how much the government wanted miners to procure locally.

 The government, he said, will review policies to help improve the welfare of Zambians despite concerns raised by mining firms, adding that some mining firms have been building capacity for foreign firms at the expense of local firms. 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has helped the government come up with a report on how to improve local content in the mining sector.

Mary Monyau, the bank’s representative in Zambia, said many African countries have failed to utilize minerals to improve the lives of their citizens.

 She said most goods and services imported by mining firms were given to foreign companies, a move that disadvantages local firms.

Zambia’s comparative advantage is in mining, and the government needs to ensure that the mining industry drives growth in other sectors of the economy, Mr. Musukwa added.

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