Trade legal framework moribund, says Mwanakatwe


Most of the legal frameworks governing trade and industry have become almost malfunctional, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margret Mwanakatwe told Parliament yesterday.

Ms Mwanakatwe said in her ministerial statement that most of the laws were developed in the 1990s and have become moribund, thereby needing to be revamped.

“I have found that our legal frameworks that govern commerce, trade and industry sectors were developed in the era of liberalization during the early 1990s. Many of these laws have with the passage of time, in a dynamic world of global business, become increasingly moribund and in dire need of revamping,” she said.

The minister said she would table not less than 10 new bills in the House before the end of this Parliament in 2016.

These include company law, standardization and quality assurance and intellectual property which are aimed at developing micro, small and medium enterprises.

Ms Mwanakatwe said Government’s focus would be with major private investors such as Lafarge Cement and Dangote Cement so that small and medium enterprises would be able to supply goods and services to core sector companies.

She said Government would work with private investors while providing environment in which private sector investment could flourish.

Ms Mwanakatwe said industrial clusters that have been created across the country serve as catalyst for business opportunities such as supply of goods and services; and transportation and distribution.

She said her ministry through Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) was undertaking various investment promotion ventures targeting investment into sectors that would work under industrial cluster models.

The minister also said Government would not prioritise establishment of industrial yards because they were costly and resources were limited.

“I wish to state that in medium term, the Government will not prioritise the implementation of industrial yards… Establishing this kind of cluster is an expensive undertaking and the cost of establishing such fully fledged clusters is estimated to be in the region of US$20 to US$30 million depending on the sector type,” she said.

The minister said the resources were limited and Government could not implement such clusters at national level. Ms Mwanakatwe said she was aware Government had indicated in the past that it was exploring possibilities of establishing such clusters but the cost had proved to be prohibitive.

She said clusters could only be established where there was already established pool of entrepreneurs, resources and skills. The minister said the focus of Government would be to support the already existing industrial yards and assist them with business development and financing where it was appropriate.

“I will do this within our business development initiatives for micro, small and medium enterprises. We will continue to engage potential funding partners to source external financing,” she said.

Ms Mwanakatwe said her ministry would also facilitate rural industrialisation at district level.


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