MINISTER of Commerce, Trade and Industry Chipoka Mulenga says the electric battery manufacturing venture between Zambia and Congo DR will create about 1,000 direct jobs and about 2,000 indirect jobs.
And Mulenga says government is considering Ndola and Chingola for the setting up of a manufacturing plant, adding that a piece of land has already been found in Chingola and only needs to be evaluated.
In an interview, Thursday, Mulenga urged people not to politicise the initiative.
“I pray that we don’t go political on this one but everybody comes on board as a nationalist. And you the media, I implore you to take responsibility and ownership of this. It is good for News Diggers, it is good for everyone. The effect of this deal will be seen and felt by everyone. It will increase newspaper sales; it will increase revenue collection by government. It will increase permanent jobs. Package it all together, it will create in excess of a thousand jobs. That is direct jobs. Indirect jobs, it will create in excess of even two thousand indirect jobs. And that is after it is fully established,” Mulenga said.
“Before this is even fully established, at its inception the construction phase itself is important. The construction phase will create a lot of jobs and that is where now the same CDF will work very well. Beyond CDF, companies will have to set up and be part of the construction implementers of what we are talking about because there will be housing units higher than the industry itself. There will be housing units, there will be roads, there will be infrastructure that will need to be put up.”
Mulenga said a piece of land had already been found in Chingola and only needed to be evaluated.
“We are targeting to look at two towns; Chingola and Ndola but in close proximity to where our colleges are also doing it. But already Chingola seems to have found a piece of land which needs to be evaluated. So through secretary to the cabinet, they are sending a team of technocrats at PS level and director level to go to Chingola and look at this piece of land they are talking about with coordinates and see how fast we can move. Our friends in Congo started preparing for this two years ago. So they already have the land and we can’t hold them back so we need to act fast and we are acting fast I can assure you,” he said.
Mulenga said Zambians should be excited about the project.
“So the country must be excited about this project. It is not a small project, it is good for everyone. The media should take a keen interest and talk about this. I have some advice for the media, we love the media, we respect the media, we are not a government that is going to harass you. That is why you even have the liberty to tell us you are not accessible and we humble ourselves before you. We are not bad that we will unleash people to beat you, we saw it in the past where media houses were even chased out of press conferences,” said Mulenga.
“We are not that kind of a people but we implore the media to take ownership of this project. Let the world know about this project.”