Wednesday, 11 February 2015 05:57
The Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Commercial, Trade and Industrial (CTI) Policy 2009 – 2014 and the Strategy Paper on Industrialization and Job Creation launched in 2013 has identified the Textile and Garment sub Sector as one of the priority sectors for Zambia’s industrialization and economic development.
The sub Sector is considered to be labour intensive with potential to greatly contribute to employment and wealth creation at all stages of its value chain.
Zambia’s Textile and Garments sub Sector has had an important role to play in the country’s development. During the Import Substitution Industrialisation (ISI) of the 1960s through to the 80s, the sub Sector received substantial Government support and grew to become the biggest contributor to manufacturing GDP. During this period, Ndola and Livingstone together hosted more than 130 textiles and garment manufacturing companies. Further, companies like Serioes International in Luanshya, Mulungushi Textiles in Kabwe and Kafue Textiles of Zambia (KTZ) in Kafue were household names and contributed immensely to the country’s cotton value addition programme and job creation.
With the fall in copper earnings and the oil shock of 1975, the Import Substitution Policy proved to be costly to the Government and the sub Sector started to experience underutilization of capacity. This was partly due to the nature of the investment in the industry and the scarcity of foreign exchange for imported inputs and spare parts.
However, The textile and garment manufacturing sector is still viable and currently employees about 670 people country wide. Government is putting up deliberate measures to support the growth of the sector.
According to the Industrialisation and job creation strategy, the textile and garment manufacturing sector is capable of creating 4,100 new jobs in the next five years.
As a way of promoting the textile industry, Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry will ensure that all public institutions like the Prisons Service, Zambia National Service, and Zambia Police purchases 20 percent of their garments from the local manufacturers like Unity Garments.
This will boost the textile and garment industry to grater heights and eventually gain ground locally, regionally and internationally.
The textile and garment manufacturing sector must diversify and go into manufacture of quality clothes which can compete with clothes from the rest of the regional and international markets.
Once garments and clothes made locally were of the expected quality and standard, the local demand for clothes would force the sell of second hand clothes out of the market. The entry of second hand clothes, commonly known as Salaula, on the Zambia market was seen as the major reason why the textile industry became sluggish.
Most of the textile industries in Zambia went under after privatization because the equipment became obsolete. If properly managed, the textile industry has the potential to significantly contribute to the national Growth Domestic Product (GDP).
The Textile and Garment sub Sector in Zambia has a huge potential to contribute to the Zambia’s quest to create jobs and wealth for the citizens. It is also clear that a number of studies have been undertaken and what remains is the implementation of the proposed solutions.