SMALL and medium enterprises should endeavor to participate in the growing of the economy, says Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame.
She applauded the Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEPZ) for its continued promotion of local procurement to change the country’s supply chain landscape.
Ms Siame said last year Government signed the Zambia-Congo bilateral trade agreement to open up huge market opportunities for Zambian producers and agribusiness players by ensuring that selected Zambian products entered the Congolese market without paying any duty.
“This has given the suppliers an opportunity to export their products to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this means it is the Government’s goal to see all SMEs participate in their economy and we also commend Shoprite for being a model to other large chain stores.
“It’s about time we see more local suppliers participating in their economy, and we want to thank PEPZ for their sustained effort, and these are the practical and tangible results we like to see for the development of the country,” she said.
Ms Siame was speaking at the official launch of PEPZ’s Business Linkages Programme induction process for seven local entrepreneurs working to supply Zambia’s largest chain store, Shoprite.
PEPZ team leader Bayo Akindeinde said PEPZ’s Business Linkages component was aimed at assisting small businesses to participate in the supply chains of larger established companies in all sectors.
PEPZ is a five-year project funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) that aims to build and strengthen the capacity of Zambian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the private sector to contribute to the diversification of the economy.
And Shoprite Zambia general manager, Charles Bota said the idea of local SMEs supplying good quality products to the chain-store was encouraging and that Shoprite would try its best to procure more local products.
“Part of Shoprite’s policy is to support local products without necessarily dropping our standards, and we are stepping up our efforts to procure more local products and with the help of PEPZ, we believe many of the hindrances will be alleviated,” he said.