Wednesday, January 16, 2008
O'Donnell calls for more investment
By Kabanda Chulu
Wednesday January 16, 2008 [03:00]
Union Gold Equity chairman Mark O’Donnell yesterday said there was need for more investments in Zambia to increase and sustain economic indicators recorded last year. And O’Donnell has urged finance minister Ng’andu Magande, during the 2008 budget, to find ways of reducing the cost of doing business in order to boost the economy. O’Donnell observed that most of the growth experienced in 2007 was driven by new investment, in particular foreign investments in the country.
“While there is much negative talk about foreign investment, the reality is very simple, the more foreign investment we get, the more growth we will experience and hence the better the lives of the people will become as more jobs are created,” O’Donnell said.
“And the current macroeconomic indicators are good and perhaps they can even be better but we need more investments to increase and sustain what has been achieved so far.”
He explained that two decades ago, China was a country experiencing tremendous poverty, but today was growing at more than 10 per cent per year and looks set to continue this rate of growth in the coming years.
“In the process, hundreds of millions of Chinese have been able to find jobs and create better lives for themselves and their families in the new economy.
This has all been made possible by foreign investment that brought in new capital, new skills and new technology. Rather than debate endlessly about the merits of foreign investment, the Chinese have made the most of it for their own benefit and this is something we should consider emulating in Zambia,” O’Donnell said.
And O’Donnell said 2008 looks to be a promising year for the economy and urged Magande to reduce taxes as a means of boosting the economy.
“The longer Magande takes to make these (tax) concessions, the longer it is going to take for meaningful job creation to take place. With formal sector employment at a little over 500,000, the numbers tell us that there are millions of people looking for jobs.
This demand for jobs surely has to motivate the minister into making the tax concessions the industry needs for further economic expansion to take place,” said O’Donnell.