‘$2 billion mining windfall can change Zambia’

ZAMBIA’s economy can be drastically transformed if the entire US$2 billion generated from the mining sector was to be spent within the country, says Zambia Manufacturers Association (ZAM) president Rosetta Chabala.

Ms Chabala said the US$2 billion had the capacity to contribute to nine percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) while half of it would contribute to about five percent of the GDP.

Speaking at the Chief Executive shared value dinner, Ms Chabala said the US$2 billion would have a huge impact on the economy while increasing revenue and economic activities in the country.

“If the US$2 billion was spent by local manufacturers it would have a huge impact on the economy. It’s about 9 percent of GDP as even half of it would be 5 percent of the GDP,” she said.

She explained that out of the generated US$2 billion, only US$100million was spent by manufacturing entities in Zambia while US$600 was spent on imports. Ms Chabala said if the generated money was used within the country, it would lead to growing a number of Zambian small scale entrepreneurs.

She said since manufacturers were unable to get the US$2 billion, the association was working on getting the remaining US$1.6 which was not being utilized by the industry to add to the economic activities.

“The mining industry spends about US$2 billion annually and only US$100 million is spent by manufacturing entities in Zambia. We are trying to get that US$ 1.6 billion that we are not getting which would make a huge difference to employment and private sector development,” she said. Ms Chabala said if the US$2 billion was used internally, it could create employment and wealth for many Zambians especially in the private sector and later change the land scape of the country for the manufacturing industry.

She also said Manufacturing had a role to play in the local content system using raw materials to support the economic growth of the country.  Ms Chabala said her association was thinking of interlinking the manufacturing sector were the mining in order to add value to the economy.

“We want to see a private sector driven economy and for that reason, we would like Government’s intervention in terms of support,” she said.