The Zambian government recently held a sensitization meeting with stakeholders on the Copperbelt mainly from the Chambers of Commerce and the private sector on the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). The meeting was held ahead of Zambia’s pending ratification of the TFTA Agreement.
The Sensitization was facilitated by the Department of Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
Speaking at the event, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mrs Kayula Siame, who was represented by Chief Economist, Mr. Paul Mumba said once effected, the TFTA will spur a new web of opportunities in Zambia and beyond.
She said local exporters will be afforded an opportunity to competitively grow their international market and consumers will equally get a broader scope of products.
“I urge the private sector to take advantage of the trade space that Government has created through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the opportunities that the TFTA will bring,” Mrs Kayula said.
At the same event, COMESA Director of Trade and Customs Dr. Francis Mangeni called on the private sector to actively participate in trade deliberations.
“Quite a number of countries have involved the private sector in their negotiation delegations, Zambia must consider doing the same, as it will ease dissemination of information,” Dr Mangeni added.
The private sector present in the meeting, raised concern on what Zambia will contribute to the huge market considering the country’s current low production and poor quality goods.
They have however supported the idea of ratifying the TFTA cautioning that Government must improve the Manufacturing and Industrial Sectors if Zambia is to be relevant once the TFTA is in force.
The participants were drawn from Chambers of Commerce in the districts of Kitwe, Ndola, Solwezi, Mansa, Kasama and Chinsali. The TFTA brings together three regions of East African Community (EAC), COMESA and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).