The COMESA Business Council says it will instigate a consultative process to discuss issues affecting competitiveness in member countries.

At a media briefing yesterday, COMMESA Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Dr Kipyego Cheluget, said the council would always advocate private sector participation in policy formulation as it was key in ensuring that the voice of businesses was heard and considered.

Dr Cheluget disclosed that the meeting being organized would focus on some of the key constraints impacting sectors such as banking and finance, seed industry and agribusiness, manufacturers, tourism and ICT.

“We are going to have a meeting with all our members in order to ensure a consultative process with the industry and government on matters that are directly impacting competitiveness. This will be the first phase of such a meeting, and it is our hope that the recommendations adopted will form common position that Zambia Private Sector Alliance will present to the highest of decision makers,” Dr Cheluget said.

He said the council would also look at how some import and export bans had indirectly hampered exports of other complimentary industries in terms of administrative processes and other invisible barriers to business.

“We shall look at a number of issues. Industrialization is key to the diversification of the country which we believe this government hopes to achieve through establishing an agriculture and industrial and credit guarantee found for SMEs to facilitate access to affordable financing,” said Dr Cheluget.