THE US$35 million Kapiri glass manufacturing plant (KGM) in Kapiri Mposhi is set for commissioning by the end of October following the successful installation of the new modern glass manufacturing equipment by the Glass Service of Italy an Italian company.
The Kapiri Glass Manufacturing Company Limited, formerly Kapiri Glass Products Limited, was shut down in 1998 following privatization in 1995 due to the weak market for glass bottles at the time.
And Government says the revamping of the factory by the local investor is clearly the Patriotic Front’s testimony of developing the country through industrialization of the economy.
Speaking during a tour of the plant to access the progress made by Chimsoro Group of Companies which acquired the company in 2008, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said the commissioning of the factory in October will contribute positively to the economy as it will save the reserves through reduced imports.
Mr. Chikwanda said the factory will also light up Kapiri Mposhi town which has been treated as a ghost town due lack of serious economic activities in the area.
“It is gratifying to see indigenous people take up such big and very important manufacturing projects; this will help save our reserves because the country will cut on the import of glass and bottles.” said Mr. Chikwanda.
The minister was optimistic that the market for glass would increase both locally and internationally.
He has however expressed concern that the indigenous people were not taking an active role in the economy of the country.
Mr. Chikwanda added that government will practice an open door policy to ensure the company and other players in the private sector thrive.
The Kapiri Glass Manufacturing Company was financed with acquisition of a US$16 million loan from the PTA and Development Bank of Zambia for the installation of new equipment that includes glass forming machines, rehabilitation of the sand and batch plant, furnace and others.
And KGM director Muna Hantuba said the company has rekindled a new era of glass container manufacturing in Zambia to cover a wider market within and outside the COMESA region.
Mr. Hantuba said the market demand for glass products has increased several folds in the last two decades not only in Zambia but beyond due to pressure in the market for the reduction in use of plastics which were an environmental nuisance.
And the group chairperson Costen Chilala appealed to Government to consider offering incentives and concessions because of the high costs of energy and other raw materials required for the continuous run of the factory.
Mr. Chilala also said Government through the Zambia Revenue Authority should provide exemptions in order to give competitive prices on the market.