The continued closure of the Mulungushi Textiles factory in Kabwe has worried Kabwe Central Member of Parliament James Kapyanga who has said that if the textile factory was operating, it could have provided employment and alleviated poverty levels in Kabwe and surrounding areas.
The company which was a joint venture between the Governments of Zambia and China has remained closed for close to a decade.
But recently, the factory was leased to Mohamed Enterprises Textiles Limited (METL) of Tanzania.
Mr. Kapyanga told the local KNC radio that he was disturbed that even after the Government completed the handover of the factory to METL, the investor had not shown any signs to reopen the factory.
He was however hopeful that with President Edgar Lungu as Head of State, the factory would soon reopen.
“The onus to open the company is now on the investor because Government has completed the transfer but we are worried that the reopening doesn’t seem to be taking place. I am appealing to the investor to quickly look into the problem so as to solve unemployment levels in Kabwe and create economic activities in the surrounding areas,” said Mr. Kapyanga.
METL representative at the factory, Aurora Singh declined to comment and referred the query to the country representative only identified as Cosmas who also said that he had no comment to make.
When asked to comment on the online story and local rumour that the company was now trading in imported fertiliser, Cosmas got furious and cut the line.
Upon signing the agreement last year, METL group chairman Gulam Dewji committed his company to reopening the factory within three months.
Mr. Dewji also said his company would invest some undisclosed amount of money and create not less than 500 jobs after the tannery and spinning divisions were resuscitated.
And in September last year, management at the factory began to invite applications for employment, sending excitement among Kabwe residents but todate no responses had been made.
Mr. Kapyanga and his Bwacha counterpart Sydney Mushanga had led hundreds of Kabwe residents into a solidarity march to thank Government for the handover, as it created hope of employment.