IT COSTS a Zambian importer between US $7,000 and $9,000 to move a 20-foot container of goods from Dar es Salaam to Lusaka by road when the same container costs US $2,000 from China to Dar. The discrepancy in the economies of scale highlights the need to invest in efficient railway transport, says Zambia Association of Manufactures (ZAM) chief executive officer Maybin Nsupila. Mr Nsupila said in an interview that Zambian importers spent US $7,000 to $9,000 due to the high cost of road transport compared to water transport. “Moving a 20-foot container from China to Dar-es-salaam is about US $2,000. To move the same from Dar-es-salaam to Lusaka costs an extra US $7,000 to US $9,000 due to the high cost of road transport compared to water transport. ‘‘This highlights the need to invest in efficient railway transport,” he said. Mr Nsupila also said much as there was need to reduce the cost of production in Zambia, ZAM recognised that the current framework and state of the economy could not sustain the continued provision of high subsidies. “Zambia is a high cost of production country and we would want to ensure that the cost is reduced but at the same time, we need to recognise that the current framework and state of the economy cannot sustain the continued provision of very high subsidies,’’ he said. He however said the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) needed to gradually remove fuel subsidies. “As an association we expected this to be gradual so that we do not introduce a big shock in the operations of the companies. “We expect, overall, to see a much bigger orientations in aligning expenditure to supporting productive sectors and less into consumption,” he said. Mr Nsupila called on Government to waive off tax on inputs going into production to promote competitiveness. He explained that this would enhance the competitiveness of the respective sectors such manufacturing.