Lungu ‘bans’ steel imports


PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has directed the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) to ensure that all the steel being used in construction industry including the airports was procured locally.

The Head of State said this yesterday when he officially launched the U$250 million Direct Reduced Iron Plant (DRI) at the Universal Mining and Chemical Industries Limited Steel Plant (UMCIL) in Kafue district.

The Direct Reduced Iron Plant which is situated in Kafue district would be processing high grade iron ore mined at Nambala-Sonkwe in Mumbwa into finished steel products by the end of this year.

President Lungu also directed the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development and the managing director of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) to allocate the plant a sizeable coal reserve to enable the upgrading of iron and steel production.

“In the spirit of produce Zambian, buy and trade Zambian, and use Zambian, I am directing the director general of the ZPPA to ensure that all infrastructural projects including the airport expansion and electricity power stations projects are supplied by locally produced products,” he said.

President Lungu said he was aware that the current production at Kafue Steel plant stood at 120,000 metric tonnes per annum, adding that once the plant started using iron ore later this year, production was expected to increase to 240,000 metric tonnes per annum.

President Lungu said the Universal Mining and Chemical Industry Limited in Kafue was a practical example of industrialisation and was on the right path of what the nation had been crying for, local industrialisation.

He said without industrialization, there was no way the nation could have the roads leading to Mongu-Kalabo and the expansion and construction works at the airports.

President Lungu said Kafue would soon become a hub of industrialisation of this country, a vision which the first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda wanted and planned.

“Kafue has been reborn and I want to be that father who will take care of this birth of industrialisation. We should never allow our treasury to gather dust because Kafue Industries had a lot of opportunities,” he said.

President Lungu said he would guard and protect Kafue jealously.

He said the impact of job creation and local direct investment was within the country.

And Trade Kings Group of Companies Director Dr Bright Chunga said value addition processes were being exported outside the country because the locals were importing steel.

He said the core business of the industry revolved around mining of lime, core and manganese ore.

Dr Chinga called on other mining industries to be processing and producing finished products.

Meanwhile, President Lungu said he was impressed with the performance of the police  command for arresting cadres who were involved in political violence.

And President Lungu said there was no need to promote tribalism by anybody because everybody was one regardless of their tribe.

“I am impressed with the police this week they have worked very hard they have arrested some cadres who were perpetrating violence,” he said.

He implored police officers across the country to work very hard and ensure that they ended political violence. He was speaking at a public rally in Kafue.