By a Correspondent
AS Chinese influence continues to sweep across most sectors of African economies, Zambian local entrepreneurs specialised in trading are crying foul of what they describe as “unfair trade” practices.
Zambian Entrepreneural Hub, a consortium of small and medium scale businesses say the Chinese have taken over almost every trading component on the local market.
Hub executive director Nchimunya Chizyuka says the Zambian government must develop a legal framework that would protect the local entrepreneurs from the unbalanced competition, mainly caused by the Chinese.
Ms Chizyuka observed in an interview that Zambian traders have been pushed out of business because foreign investors easily bring in cheaper goods in huge consignments.
She said the situation creates unfair business environment where Zambian entrepreneurs with limited capital cannot thrive.
“How can the local entrepreneurs compete with the Chinese who bring in 10 containers of cheaper goods and flood the market for instance?”, she says.
With lower capital levels for investment and high obtaining bank interest rates (around 40 percent in some cases) Ms Chizyuka says the business environment is so uneven for local growth.
Ms. Chizyuka appealed to President Hakainde Hichilema and his United Party for National Development (UPND) New Dawn Administration to help regulate the trading environment for certain quotas and that certain types of businesses should be left for local people.
“Government is doing a lot of good things to grow the economy but as Zambian Entrepreneural Hub, we trust something can be done to protect our interests and help in growing our own economy,” she says.
Ms. Chizyuka says if local entrepreneurs can be protected from the unfair completion at the hands of the Chinese, there will be more job opportunities created.
“Right now as I am speaking, most of our members have laid off hundreds of their workers because businesses are not doing well. We need Government’s intervention. Besides foreign businesses externalise profits while local businesses re-invests within the Zambian economy,” Ms. Chizyuka says.
According to a Statutory Instrument (SI) signed by former Sixth Republican President, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu on Wednesday, 4th January, 2017, person who operates or carries on business in a sector or sub-sector reserved under these Regulations commits an offence
and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding two thousand
five hundred penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding two years, or to both.
A Gazette Notice was later issued Friday, 13th January , 2017, stated as Statutory Instrument No. 1 of 2017, or the Citizens Economic Empowerment Act, 2006 (Act No. 9 of 2006) referred to as
The Citizens Economic Empowerment (Reservation Scheme) Regulations, 2017, cited as the Citizens Economic
Empowerment (Reservation Scheme) Regulations, 2017, which prohibits foreigners from trading in – “live bird” meaning a free range chicken, broiler or ex-layer; “market” assigned to it in the Markets and Bus Stations Act, 2007.
The ‘Reservation Scheme” in the area of business within the poultry and domestic haulage sectors or sub-sectors are reserved for targeted citizens, citizen- influenced, citizen-empowered and citizen- owned companies.
The sale of live birds in a market or any other place designated under a written law is reserved for targeted citizens,
citizen-influenced companies, citizen-empowered companies and