Saturday, February 21, 2009

(TIMES) State ponders on Nanga farms’ economic zone

State ponders on Nanga farms’ economic zone
By Business Reporter

THE Government is considering the possibility of turning Nanga Farm Bloc in Serenje into a multi-facility economic zone (MFEZ), Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati has said.

Mr Mutati said the turning of Nanga Farm Bloc into an MFEZ would create more jobs and facilitate value addition to local products.

He said the Government was committed to rural industrialisation as a way of supporting and enhancing growth in rural economies.

The minister said this in Lusaka yesterday at the MFEZ stakeholders’ forum organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (Zica) and the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.

Mr Mutati said the Government would also ensure that infrastructure development at the Nansanga Farm Bloc in Serenje was completed by the end of this year.

The minister said development of the 155,000-hectare farming bloc was expected to be a model of agricultural development in Zambia.

About K42.4 billion will be invested in the initiative that includes K36.2 billion for roads and bridges.

When the bloc is fully populated, it will look like Nakambala Sugar Estates and 10 times bigger with large estates and small-scale farming blocs located in the same vicinity.

Mr Mutati said the Government was creating a lot of opportunities for the private sector to do business in the country.

On the $500,000 threshold to operate in an MFEZ, Mr Mutati said most Zambians had the capacity to meet the requirement as manifested by a number of lodges, buses and guest houses they were buying which cost more that the MFEZ requirement.

And speaking earlier, Zica secretary and chief executive officer, Hapenga Kabeta urged the Government to consider setting up MFEZs in areas which were economically depressed.

Mr Kabeta noted that Lusaka was already congested hence the need to consider setting up economic zones elsewhere in areas such as Kafue, Luanshya, Kabwe and Ndola among others.

He said development of support infrastructure in depressed localities would support growth for such areas.

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