ZAMBIA should produce high quality and competitive products for both domestic and regional markets, says commerce minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.
Ms Mwanakatwe said in an interview that products with competitive prices and high quality would safeguard consumers from exploitation.
She said it did not make sense for imported products to be cheaper than the locally made ones.
She hoped that local producers were not being unscrupulous by increasing prices on their products, adding that everyone was going through difficult times and needed to support each other.
“Local products must be of high quality and competitive prices to carter for domestically and in the regional markets.
“Somebody else brings in the same products from outside and it is selling cheaper than yours then you really need to go back to the drawing board and look at what you can do,” she said.
Ms Mwanakatwe said her ministry would meet with local producers to understand why prices of their products were higher than those imported.
“So I really hope that we can meet with them and see why their prices are in that manner, we need to work together,” she said.
She said that Government would always support local producers as well as protect consumers.
Ms Mwanakatwe said she was aware that the local currency had devalued but that should not be the reason for local producers to hike prices on their goods and services.
“By supporting them, we are giving them a chance to be able to sale at a better price. Yes I know that the kwacha has devalued but all the same, we need to find out why prices on the local market are high.
“It is quite a disappointment because when we decided to support the local industry, they showed us that they have enough capacity and that is why we did what we did,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Mwanakatwe advised the public to support the local producers in the coming manufacturing week by buying local products.
“We will always support local products, in fact next week we are starting the manufacturer’s week and one of the things we want to promote is buying Zambian products.