PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he will engage Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya to begin unlocking some sectors of the economy, even if it means the continued wearing of face masks, as the country continues battling COVID-19.

And the President has discouraged the importation of goods that can be locally produced, saying Zambian companies have shown that they can produce world-class products when adequately supported.

According to ZNBC, the President, who was speaking in an interview after touring Trade Kings in Lusaka, said that Cabinet will deliberate on progress made and decide the next course of action.

“President Edgar Lungu says he will engage the Minister of Health in order to start unlocking some sectors in the view of COVID-19. The Head of State said when Cabinet sits, it will deliberate on what progress has been made and what can be done next. President Lungu said some sectors of the economy have to be unlocked, even if it means people wearing masks for some time,” ZNBC reported.

And the Head of State said the growth of the manufacturing sector would not only create jobs, but also support the agricultural sector.

“The importation of goods that can be produced locally should be discouraged. Companies like Trade Kings have shown that Zambian companies can produce world-class products, if well supported. By manufacturing goods, locally, government will not only create direct jobs, but also support other sectors, such as agriculture that provides raw materials. It will be pointless to have manufacturing firms when raw materials are coming from outside,” ZNBC quoted President Lungu as saying.

“This is why government has started putting in place infrastructure for milk processing in various parts of the country. The idea is to allow cooperatives to supply milk as raw materials to big companies like Trade Kings. Government will ask the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help in the setting up of more milk processing plants in Zambia, and government will support the growth of the manufacturing sector.”

And speaking earlier, Commerce Minister Christopher Yaluma said government would continue supporting the manufacturing sector, adding that Trade Kings was a testimony of government’s support to the manufacturing sector.

And Trade Kings Group of Companies spokesperson Ernest Mande said the company had grown due to sound government policies and innovation on the part of Trade Kings staff.