Saturday, May 29, 2010

‘Extractive industry anchoring Zambia’s economy’

‘Extractive industry anchoring Zambia’s economy’
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:01 CAT

MINES minister Maxwell Mwale has said the government and all players in the mining industry have a challenge to ensure that the sector’s growth is translated into tangible benefits for all stakeholders.

And Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Peter Daka has said the government has placed the agricultural sector at the centre stage of the country’s economic development agenda since it is seen as the engine for overall economic growth and poverty reduction.

Speaking after a tour of exhibition stands at the 53rd Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show (CMACS) on Thursday, Mwale said the extractive industry had continued to be the anchor of Zambia’s economy and a strong stimulant of the economic development.

He said Zambia had subscribed to the International Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) aimed at enhancing transparency and good governance in the sector.

“These developments are indicative of the projected growth of the mining sector and underscore the importance of the mining sector to the economic development of the country but the challenge for all players in this industry is to ensure that the sector’s growth is translated into tangible benefits for all stakeholders,” said Mwale.

“Government on its part is committed to maintaining a favourable investment climate by ensuring a stable regulatory framework based on international best practices and this is why we have put in place a public-private-partnership framework for private companies to work with government in developing the much needed infrastructure that will help reduce the operating costs of doing business in the sector.”

And Daka said a well-performing agricultural sector would contribute to employment creation and income generation for the majority of the people.

“Majority Zambians live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, so developing the sector is seen by government as one way of fostering economic growth and it is for this reason that we are encouraging people on the Copperbelt to engage in agriculture,” said Daka.

“I am therefore glad to see that overall maize production on the Copperbelt was 150,248 metric tonnes and 177,629 metric tonnes in the 2007/8 and 2008/9 seasons.”

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