THREE apex business associations in Solwezi have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a view to build a collective platform that will lobby for transparent business opportunities and ensure growth of small and medium entrepreneurs in North-Western Povince.
The three business associations are Lumwana Community Business Association, Musele Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the North-Western Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The business partnership which has been facilitated by the Zambia Business in Development Facility (ZBiDF) would operate as North-Western Extractive Industry Local Contractors Partnership.
ZBiDF national director Ernest Muwamba said during the signing ceremony in Solwezi that the agreed collaboration among the business community would help find solutions to common challenges affecting the growth of SMEs in the province.
Mr Muwamba stated that limited access to finance and low competencies among SMEs were some of the areas of collaboration that the partnership would seek to address.
“The mission of the partnership is to systematically build a collective platform that advocates and lobbies for transparent business opportunities and ensures growth of the local business community,” Mr Muwamba said.
And North-Western Chamber of Commerce president Josephine Makondo said the need for a vibrant and economically powered private sector could not be over-emphasized as it was the backbone of the nation’s economy.
She said the presence of the mines in the province had greatly contributed to the growth of the private sector through the provision of contracts and various business opportunities.
“However, the cry from most of our members is to have access to quality jobs and facilitation of deliberate effort to engage the local businesses in having jobs in the mines in consistent and transparent manner without interference from the end users still remains the cry among the business community,” she said.
And Solwezi district commissioner Rosemary Kamalonga said Government was expectant that the business partnership would ensure local participation in economic activities was increased in order to contribute to the national gross domestic product.
She said Government had put in place private public partnership (PPP) policies that were aimed at fostering a private sector inclusive approach through diverse but integrated social economic strategies.
‘’These strategies which underly the very tenets of PPPs reaffirms Government’s commitment to uphold the provisions of the Constitution of Zambia as it is a policy that stipulates an inclusive development agenda,” she said.