MINISTER of Commerce Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma has bemoaned the impromptu closure of all Spar outlets in the country, saying government is working to ensure that this does not scare other chain stores.
And Yaluma has called on businesses to be more innovative and consummate business partnerships to either bridge the gap being left by the entities exiting the market or utilize the Buy Zambia programme as a foundation for innovative business partnerships anchored on home-grown solutions.
At a briefing, Tuesday, Yaluma said government, through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) had engaged Spar and other potential investors to explore corporate finance strategies on how to manage Spar’s smooth exit.
“In view of this unfortunate development in the retail sector instigated by the exit of Spar Zambia Limited from our economy, we cannot underscore the importance of the need for Government to intervene and explore robust strategies to help remedy the situation and avert potential material injury to the retail sector and the economy in general. We therefore call upon all concerned stakeholders to remain calm as Government through my Ministry pursue remedial measures anchored on ‘‘home-grown solutions for sustainability and inclusive participation’’. My Ministry through Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has already engaged Spar Zambia and other potential investors to explore corporate finance strategies on how to manage a smooth exit of Spar Zambia from the local market. We are working smart to ensure that the closure of Spar outlets did not scare other Chain stores nor limit competition in the retail sector,” Yaluma said.
“On behalf of Government, my Ministry has noted with dismay the impromptu on-going closure of Spar outlets at a time when the Chain store has grown to become one of the household names in Zambia. Since its launch through commercial presence on the Zambian economy in 2003, Spar Zambia Limited has been an active player in the domestic retail sector by providing effective demand for local products which are marketed and sold in its outlets across the country. The Chain store is said to be one of the world’s largest retail chain operating in over thirty (30) countries. Spar Zambia Chain stores are known for providing wide variety of products which includes food and groceries, fruits and vegetables, wines and beverages, takeaway restaurants and in-store bakery section. Given this wide range of product lines, Spar Zambia and other similar stores in the retail sector play a significant role in stimulating value-chains development, job creation and contributes to government treasury through various tax remittance. Spar Zambia has over the last decade of operating on the local market established an admirable brand for itself among the Zambian consumers of which typically everyone would desire to safeguard in the interest of economic stability.”
Yaluma called on the private sector to take advantage of the gap left to promote enhanced integration of local value chains and be innovative amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“My Government is therefore calling for the private sector and other stakeholders on the marketplace to seize this opportunity to promote enhanced integration of local value chains. Cooperatives are hereby being challenged to come to the fore and occupy such spaces in the economy. Further, my Ministry stands ready to provide the necessary support to ensure that we have more viable local Chain stores from within our communities that supports the local producers and traders. However, this calls for every business entrepreneur to embrace change of mindset especially where quality assurance is concerned and consistent supply of the target product. In this regard, I wish to implore the relevant Agencies specifically the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to work closely with our local suppliers to improve business linkages and enhance product quality respectively,” he said.
“I wish to encourage the private sector at large to take advantage of the prevailing opportunities and be innovative even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic so as to remain resilient and survive the unprecedented trajectory that has affected the global economy including Zambia. We must all take note that the time when the pandemic will disappear from this world is not yet known but business has to continue. Therefore, all business entities are instructed to adhere to the prescribed public health guidelines for combating Covid-19 as doing so the infection and mortality rates would certainly reduce and business would steadily return to normalcy. I urge you all to strictly follow the public health guidelines so that together we can protect one another for the benefit of our society we live in because the pandemic does not discriminate and has demonstrated the ability to traverse all territorial borders and affecting both human capital and business entities.”
And Yaluma said the Proudly Zambia Campaign should be used as a foundation for innovative business partnerships anchored on home-grown solutions.
“At this juncture, let me take this opportunity to assert that Covid-19 pandemic has induced a different way of doing business under the ‘‘new normal business environment’’ and this demands for business entities to be more innovative and while Government continues to provide the necessary support. And this will only be achieved if all relevant stakeholders through public-private-partnership collaborated in good faith and for mutual benefit. It is, therefore, my Ministry’s desire that the private sector undertakes to embrace the Proudly Zambian Campaign (PZC) and consummate business partnerships to either bridge the gap being left by those entities exiting the market and or utilize the programme as a foundation for innovative business partnerships anchored on home-grown solutions. Further, the private sector players are encouraged to embrace a hybrid framework that is characterized by innovation and partnerships that guarantees cost efficiency and building of economies of scale for competitiveness on the market,” said Yaluma.