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Zambia set to start making car batteries

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

ZAMBIA is set to start making car batteries by end of July this year following the launch of the assembly plant at the Jiangxi Economic Cooperation Zone (Jiangxi MFEZ) in Chibombo.

The vehicle battery manufacturing plant by Airumi New Energy would be implemented in two phases, with the first phase expected to produce 400, 000 batteries through a US$30 million investment.

The second phase, with an investment of US$45 million, would double the battery production to 800, 000.

The equipment is expected to be in Zambia by end of this month while testing production has been set for June.

This came to light yesterday when Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Chipoka Mulenga and his entourage toured the plant.

Updating the entourage on the assembly plant, Airumi New Energy Manager, Alex Huang, assured of quality production of the car batteries.

“Our initial investment for the first phase of this project is US$30 million where we will be manufacturing 400, 000 batteries on normal conditions. During the second phase of the project, we will double that amount as we invest US$45 million,” Mr Huang told the delegation.

Jiangxi MFEZ General Manager, Xu Jianfeng, updated the delegation that the car batteries investor had demonstrated its efficiency and profession in the implementation of this project.

“From the date of investment agreement signing to the arrival of equipment and machinery on the site, it takes only four months. Very short time,” Mr Jiangeng said.

He also highlighted a number of projects which were underway such as a transformer assembling and manufacturing and a quarry crushing and block making by the Mufutuli, a local Zambian company, which would start supplying quarries to the Great North Road project in July this year. 

Others included a motorcycle assembly plant to be set up this year and a 50-MW solar power plant which would also start the construction in 2024 were among other projects mentioned by Mr Jiangeng.

“By April of this year, we have signed nine investment agreements with investors, their investment will reach over US$100 million,” he said.

And Mr Mulenga has emphasised the need for quality production of the car batteries and other products which would be made from Zambia.

Mr Mulenga also stressed the need for all the products to have correct prices to allow more local people consume the products.

“We cannot grow the tax base by not increasing taxes for the already existing payers but create more avenues and opportunities for more people to get jobs and become tax payers. This can only be achieved through value addition.”

“This zone presents itself as one of the places we find opportunities where we set up value addition for the first time in a long while after Mansa Batteries Zambia will be manufacturing car batteries. The test run of the production will start in July this year,” Mr Mulenga said.

He also said in the quest for value addition to minerals such as copper, cobalt and manganese among others, before the end of the year Zamtrans Electrical Limited has invented about US$100 million to manufacture electrical cables and transformers locally at the zone before the end of the year.

Mr Mulenga said this would help Zesco stop spending a lot of money importing transformers which is capital flight.

“Our aim now is to build our own.  We will not externalise the money we will sell to earn foreign exchange,” he said.

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