Thursday, March 01, 2007

Govt to include SMEs incentives in CEE Act

Govt to include SMEs incentives in CEE Act
By Fridah Zinyama
Thursday March 01, 2007 [02:02]

COMMERCE Permanent Secretary Davidson Chilipamushi (right) has assured Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that their incentives will be included in the Citizens Economic Empowerment (CEE) Act. Chilipamushi’s assurance comes in the wake of complaints by some members of the business community in Southern Province. The business community has said their interests have not been taken care of under the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), which seems to focus more on bigger investors.

They complained that more incentives were given to bigger investors when SMEs were made to pay more taxes and did not have any special incentives to help them grow. However, Chilipamushi said government would put in place deliberate incentives to support the Zambian citizens. “The CEE Act would help SMEs form partnerships which will help to create equity and fairness in business,” he said.

Chilipamushi said the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with the Private Sector Development Programme would next month embark on countrywide sensitisation programmes to help create awareness on the CEE.

And Chilipamushi said government would remain firm over the US$500,000 that is required for one to qualify as an investor under the ZDA Act. “We realised that investors coming into the country with US$50,000 did not bring in serious investment,” he observed. Chilipamushi said some so-called investors only came into the country to speculate and left afterwards. “This is why we are putting in place all these measures to ensure that proper investment is brought into the country,” he said.

Chilipamushi also assured investors who had been registered under the Zambia Investment Centre not to worry about being deported. “I am aware that some officers at Immigration have been saying that they would deport all investors who came into the country with investment worth US$50,000,” he said. “It is a technical issue which will have to be addressed by the Ministry of Commerce and home affairs.” ZDA acting director general Glyne Michelo said the ZDA Act would be amended to include more suggestions from stakeholders.

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