Boost NTEs to Save Kwacha, Govt Urged

THE Government has been urged to promote non-traditional exports (NTEs) and move away from total dependence on copper to mitigate the weakening of the Zambian Kwacha against the United States(US) dollar and other major convertible currencies.

Livingstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Miles Daka said there was need for the Government to promote NTEs such as cotton, tobacco, cashew nuts, coffee and other products to earn the country the much-needed foreign exchange.

Mr Daka said in an interview in Livingstone yesterday that too much dependence on imports was not healthy to the economy, especially in view of the weakening Kwacha.

“To mitigate the depreciation of the Kwacha, the Government needs to promote NTEs and move away from total dependence on copper.

Zambia can earn a lot of income through NTEs such as cotton, tobacco and cashew nut among others that can earn the country enough foreign exchange,” he said.

Mr Daka noted that Livingstone and Southern Province in general, had a lot of potential for growth and investment because of the vast land, good road and rail network, water, energy and other resources.

He also urged the business community not to panic over the turbulence of the Zambian Kwacha.

“The depreciating of the Kwacha is a normal trend. Even fuel prices to behave the way they have behaved it is because their major determinant is the dollar as we are importing our fuel.

The Kwacha will come down because it changes from time to time. The business community should put proper measures to mitigate the Kwacha,” Mr Daka said.

He, however, said the fuel increment would have an impact to the manufacturing sector as their transport and production costs would be passed on to end-users.

Mr Daka also urged the Government to restrict imports on some strategic products to save the local industries from collapsing.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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