By Nation Reporter
Government will revamp the textile and garment sub-sector because it has vast potential to spur economic diversification and wealth and employment creation for our people, says Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.
Ms Mwanakatwe said this in Lusaka yesterday, when she officiated at the International Trade Centre regional dissemination workshop dubbed ‘‘African cotton promotion and value addition’’, explaining that the Government would continue to promote the implementation of policies and programmes that would see the growth of the textile and garment sector in Zambia.
She expressed hope that the workshop would equip participants with fiber transformation and empowered farmers to add value to their cotton.
Ms Mwanakatwe said that her ministry was currently supporting the growth of the cotton sector through the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) under the CEEC reservation scheme and has since financed and set up a small scale cotton farmer owned ginnery in Mumbwa district.
Ms Mwanakatwe, who is also Lusaka Central Member of Parliament, explained that the ginnery was established through cooperative structures aimed at encouraging local value addition and revealed that three more ginneries would be established in Lundazi, Sinazongwe and Choma.
The minister said that the sector also provided an opportunity for technological innovation and adaption for the engineering sector in the production of handloom equipment.
‘‘The Patriotic Front (PF) government is determined to revamp the textile and garment sub-sector because the sector has vast potential to spur economic diversification.
The sectors offer opportunities for technological innovation and adaption for the engineering sector in the production of handloom equipment. This, therefore, has the potential for wealth and employment creation for our people,’’ she said.
Ms Mwanakatwe said that her ministry was revising its Commercial, Trade and Industrial (CTI) policy to have a more integrated and coherent policy intervention that would support the growth and development of Zambia’s trade and industrial sector.
She said the Government had directed the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to work in close collaboration with the Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ) and Mumbwa Farmers Ginning and Processing Company (MFGPC) to establish a cotton out-grower scheme that would feed into the Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles Limited (ZCMTL) as guided by President Edgar Lungu when he commissioned the ZCMTL.
Ms Mwanakatwe implored the IDC to put up measures to resuscitate the operations of the company in collaboration with CAZ, Cotton Board of Zambia (CBZ), and the Cotton Development Trust among other players in the industry and ensured that they implemented the Presidential directive in order to bring about increased production and productivity of the farmers.
She encouraged youth groups, women entrepreneurs and all players in the cotton value chain to take advantage of opportunities the sector offered, emphasising the ministry’s desire to see more small scale farmers, spinners, weavers and garment makers effectively utilised this chance to better their livelihoods and income.
CAZ chairperson, Christopher Mweetwa, expressed confidence that the workshop provided a platform to learn from various experiences as well as the expertise of participants from Ethiopia, Mozambique, France, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, India and Switzerland among others.