Saturday, March 02, 2013

NCZ ready to take up basal dressing batch under FISP

NCZ ready to take up basal dressing batch under FISP
By Gift Chanda in Kafue
Fri 01 Mar. 2013, 09:40 CAT

NCZ says it is ready to take-up the whole Basal Dressing fertiliser consignment under FISP this year to address the chaotic input supply by private firms.

And the government says Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) could surpass local demand for basal dressing once it romps up annul output to277,000 metric tonnes.

Speaking after Ministry of Finance officials led by secretary to the treasury Fredson Yamba toured the plant in Kafue on Wednesday, NCZ interim chief executive officer Zuze Banda assured that the plant currently had the capacity to meet D compound fertiliser needed under the Farmer Input Supply Programme .

Banda said if the company was given a consignment to produced about 150,000 tonnes of D compound fertiliser needed under FISP, it could complete the consignment by October.

"If the government diverted those funds that are usually given to the private sector under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and channel it to NCZ, we are ready to produce to carter for this coming season," Banda said.

He urged the government to go that route as one way to address the chaotic input supply.

Banda said NCZ would commence fertiliser production next month following the completion of rehabilitation works on part of the plant.

He said the firm was looking at producing about 15,000 tonnes by the end of next month.

And Yamba, who was impressed with rehabilitation works at NCZ following government injection of KR25 million recently, said the firm could earn the treasury enough revenue once it starts exporting fertiliser.

NCZ currently has capacity to produce 142,000 metric tonnes per year but plans to increase output to 277,000 metric tonnes.

"What I have seen here is testimony that this company is able to run on its own, create jobs and earn the country revenue," he said.

"The government will ensure that this plant is up and running. We the government will make sure that it makes funds available where necessary but at the rate you are going you should be able to become self-sufficient."

Yamba was particularly impressed with the way the firms was
efficiently utilising the KR25 million capital injection.

He said the firm had not spent the money buying luxury vehicles and refurbishing offices like most firms do when they receive money from the government.

"Instead, they have focused on rehabilitating the plant which shows that they have the firm at heart," h said.

"We have learnt that NCZ has only KR4 million out of the KR25 million it was given. And it is using local expertise to work on the plant and most of the materials are being sourced locally. This is commendable."
He said it was high time people started having confidence in local expertise as not only a cost saving measure but as a way of creating employment.

According to data obtained from the company, NCZ currently has a workforce of 480 permanent employees and around 500 casual workers.
An additional 1,600 employees is expected once the plant fully resumes operations.

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