By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE intention by the new Government to move towards cost reflective tariffs should be well managed to ensure that it does not inadvertently hurt industry and local production in the process.
The industry is looking forward to various engagements on the development of the energy sector specifically with the intention to move towards cost reflective tariffs, according to the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM).
ZAM vice president-South, Chipego Zulu-Chileshe, said this must be a well-managed process that cushions the adverse effects of an exponential increase in the cost of energy for the manufacturing sector.
“With respect to the energy sector we continue to monitor developments around the sector and welcome the measures that have been announced in part by the President Hakainde Hichilema and the commitments that have been made towards delivering affordable and clean energy and powering the nation.
“As manufacturers, we are constantly calling consistent and steady supply of energy that is affordable and we look forward to various engagements that will surround the development of the energy sector specifically with the intention to move towards cost reflective tariffs,” she said.
Ms Chileshe said this would of course require a consultative process that prepared manufacturers for any changes in the tariff regime and ensures that they were able to adjust accordingly.
She said the association welcomed the opportunity to participate in various trade reforms that would be required to strengthen the performance of the private sector in exports to the region.
“We welcome the measures that have already been announced specifically the intentions to strengthen Zambia Bureau of Standards and the intention to facilitate the flow of trade and investments as well as governments intention to put in place export financing to support various Zambian businesses,” Ms Chileshe said.
According to Ms Chileshe, there was need for concerted and deliberate efforts to reduce the cost of production and the cost of doing business for local manufacturers when it came to reducing the cost of doing business for Zambian companies to compete and be competitive in regional markets.
“We do note the intention to streamline and reduce the number of licenses and permits which has been quite tedious and costly for various manufacturers.
“We are cognisance of the fact that the cost of doing business has been hampering the ability of the manufacturing sector to achieve its full potential,” she said.