Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Christopher Yaluma has announced that two Statutory Instruments (SIs) aimed at protecting small business from being invaded by foreigners have just been introduced.

Speaking during the Impact Capital business meeting in Lusaka, Tuesday, Yaluma said the Commerce Ministry had issued the two SI aimed at protecting small business from being invaded by foreigners.

He said government had observed that foreigners had invaded small businesses and that the SI would regulate which businesses they could venture into.

“I think I support the move to ensure that we stop foreigners from taking over small businesses that the local people can do. We need to protect the small-scale businesses here in the country. And mind you, whilst we do that, we are not trying to say we will ring fence the growth; we are trying to put them through training and accessing deals. When I talk about small manufacturing companies, which are around, this will open up for them to become more producers of quality goods, which is going to centre around the continental Free Trade Area we are talking about. We need to protect that. We need to see Zambians grow. If we don’t give them the avenue in which to prosper like avoid these people who are coming in and mingle into the small markets, I don’t think that’s welcome. We must grow them, we must give them the avenue to develop their businesses,” Yaluma said.

“Now, if somebody comes in to do block-making as a foreigner, that’s not good because those are small things that Zambians can go in. If somebody comes in and starts making nshima, which is reserved for the women at the markets, you know our women at Soweto. Somebody comes and starts selling chicken. So, I totally agree, and as government, we have released Statutory Instruments, which are aimed at trying to protect the Zambian businesses and we are just trying to implement through various responsible Ministries like the Local Government, the city councils to go in and implement that so that Zambian small-scale [businesses] can benefit, can prosper in their own fields. With this coming, we are not restricting them to remain small; eventually this is the starting to see that their businesses are growing.”

He insisted that it was wrong for a foreigner to come and invest in small business such as block-making or chicken rearing.

“This is very impressive and it’s in my heart. My biggest support has been ‘how do we support these Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs)?’ And the first question is how do we access funding? And now here we see impact; capital coming in to see how they can and arrange deals with SMEs to further their operations and I think this is very cardinal for Zambia. As a country, we need to support these SMEs; that’s where all the growth of the economy [comes from]. So, this is very encouraging, and I will pay attention to this and I will dialogue with SMEs to ensure that they take this seriously. Knowledge transfer is important. Without that, the SMEs will not reap the good that is provided here. I think this will change the profiling of SMEs for the future,” said Yaluma.