PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has directed foreign owned supermarkets operating in Zambia to include Zambian produce and local products on their shelves and has ordered the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to ensure that locally produced goods and services meet the standards of the superstores.
Earlier yesterday President Lungu said Zambia and other countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is quietly working to speedily resolve the xenophobic attacks that have rocked South Africa where a number of foreign nationals living in that country have been killed.
Mr Lungu said the domestic economy was often spurred by a healthy and robust consumer base whose resultant effect was a higher demand for goods and services that were not only competitive in quality but in prices as well as accessibility.
President Lungu said there was no reason why Zambian grown tomatoes and potatoes and other produce were not given sufficient shelf space in supermarkets chains which he said were extensively benefiting from Government’s investment initiatives and incentives.
The Head of State has warned that he would personally be making surprise visits to the supermarket and small retail outlets to check on their compliance to his directive that Zambian produce and products should be given enough shelves space in superstores.
President Lungu made the directive yesterday when he officially opened the Mukuba Mall in Kitwe.
“Domestic economy is always spurred by a healthy or robust consumer base which often results into higher demand for goods and services that are not only competitive in quality but also in prices and accessibility. I wish to take this opportunity to direct all supermarkets operating in Zambia to include Zambian grown produce and local products on their shelves. There are no reasons why Zambian grown tomatoes, potatoes and other produce are not given sufficient shelf space in supermarket chains that benefit extensively from Government incentives,” President Lungu said.
The President stated that it was an established fact that commercial developments such as Mukuba Mall gave confidence to investors in the strength of the Zambian economy adding that investing in Zambia had continued to make good business sense.
He was however concerned that there had been a decreasing representation and presence of Zambian businesses in the high-end retail spaces and shopping malls.
He said the decreasing of Zambian businesses in the high-end retail spaces had been attributed to rental pricing structures which he said bordered on prohibitive trade practices.
President Lungu said Zambia regretted the outbreak of xenophobic violence in some parts of South Africa but was hopeful that the problem would soon be ably resolved by President Jacob Zuma.
President Lungu said this when he received letters of credence from Abdullah Alowaifeer of Saudi Arabia as ambassador designate to Zambia and Lebonaamang Mokalake of Botswana and Sikosi Ntombazana of South Africa as High Commissioners designate.
The Head of State said the relations between Zambia and South Africa had steadily been growing with bilateral cooperation in various fields of mutual understanding in the quest for the two countries to improve the lives of citizens.
“Zambia regrets the outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa and we are hopeful that President Jacob Zuma will ably deal with the problem. Zambia and other countries in the region is quietly and speedily working at resolving the xenophobic violence in South Africa.
Relations between Zambia and South Africa have steadily increased with bilateral cooperation in various fields of mutual interest and understanding in the quest to improve the quality of life for both people,” President Lungu said.
The President said Zambia appreciated the development assistance it had over the years been receiving from Saudi Arabia and hoped that the launch of the inaugural session of interaction between technocrats of the two countries would result into increased bilateral cooperation. On Botswana, the Head of State said it was heartening that the two countries had continued to maintain close and active relations and attributed the warm diplomatic cooperation to the strong political foundations between the two countries.