Govt supports economic indaba idea, says Mwanakatwe

GOVERNMENT supports the idea of an economic indaba because it always wants to engage the private sector to hear their views on national policies before they are implemented, says Commerce Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.

Ms Mwanakatwe said involving the private sector in the policy- making process before they were implemented through indabas was part of its agenda.

She said her ministry was prepared to organise a national indaba to discuss policies pronounced by President Edgar Lungu during his recent first press conference.

“I think what I would say is that for us meetings of that nature are very much part of our agenda because we constantly concentrate on the private sector to give us their thoughts.

“If the President pronounces an Indaba I suppose this will not just be economic but with a lot of other things, I would support him because I believe in people coming together to brainstorm issues,” she said

She believed that there were many people in Zambia with brilliant ideas and who may know things which Government would not be aware of.

Ms Mwanakatwe said Government was for the idea of meeting different stakeholders and brainstorm with them before deciding on any policies.

“There are so many people out there in Zambia who may know things that we do not know; but if we put our brains together we can come up with a policy that can be more robust.

“We brainstorm with them before we decide on any policy that we want to implement as Government, so we want to get their views,” she said.

She said as part of the process, Government recently met various stakeholders at a meeting called Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Nations to discuss Zambia’s position on how it operated trade with the UN agencies.

A well-known Zambian economist Professor Oliver Saasa recently called on Government to organise a national indaba with a view of finding solutions to economic challenges currently being faced by Zambia.

Meanwhile, Ms Mwanakatwe said the ministry had started educating pineapple growers in Mwinilunga to attract investment in the sector.

“We are walking that talk of diversification. We are trying to organise pineapple growers and bring private sector investment into a pineapple factory to produce juice and dry them to base for many other juices,” she said.