Popular Posts

Friday, 20 April 2018

Zambia Breweries; a bleeding heart for Zambia ……..’Invests over US$400 million, extends knock on effects on locals’

President Lungu unveils a plaque at the ZB malt processing plant in Lusaka

Source:  www.zambiainformer.blogspot.com (ONLINE NEWS).


By Jeff Kapembwa

April 12 (Zambia Informer) Lusaka------Zambia Breweries Ltd., epitomises the aspirations or characteristics of the expectations of an all-weather friend for Zambia in all aspects of human endeavor as evidenced by its cross cutting investments.

In what many corporate organisations might seek to match in reaching the people in various aspects of life, Zambia, Breweries Ltd., beats them all. 

It has undoubtedly outpaced all its nemesis or protégées that have sojourned in Zambia-having digressed from traditional beer and soft drink business to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to assist sustains hygiene in communities.

The commitment by the company, in an emerging economy like Zambia-remains incomparable to many business houses and other discerning consumers of its beverages, let alone, align itself with the welfare of the people in various communities as evidenced through a self-initiated soon to be spread-Manja Pamodzi project.

 Equivocally, its actions as a good corporate citizen are abounding. Many associated with the company,  have and will live to give testimony of what traits would be or existing investors in Zambia would emulate and make Zambia a good country to live in for years to come.

For those that lived or worked for areas where mining was undertaken-chiefly Copperbelt, may remember and eulogise the defunct mining conglomerate-Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) which is a semblance of Zambia Breweries in its commitment to developing human welfare and job creation.

ZCCM , then a viable entity had  besides providing employment for locals, cared and invested infrastructure in communities in various aspects of life-recreation, forming part of its Corporate Social Responsibility-to date, its remembered as having served  mankind.

This gesture or commitment by ZCCM to bettering the welfare of its workers across the breadth and width of the company,  is still evident enough for all to see.

During its business tenure the mining giant undertook road construction and repairs, recreation halls, bridges and water providing facilities as well as built houses for miners to live in during their tenure. Many have eventually, bought off the properties after their retirement.

The case of Zambia Breweries Ltd., showcases an “all weather friend”  for Zambia-what with the more than US$400 million ploughed in various sectors of the economy as well as empowering the rural farmers biased towards outgrowing cassava, now used for one of its beverages-The Eagle Lager.

Investment actualisations in excess of US$400 million ploughed in Zambia in the past 10 years as a single entity has helped boost the economy, created jobs and is still supporting local businesses.

In Lusaka and Ndola, the company has created thousands of jobs for locals through its beverage producing entities coupled with the Malt processing plant at the Multi Facility Economic Zone, lying South East of Lusaka and further offered financing opportunities for communities engaged with the community cleaning programmes under Manja Pamodzi initiative launched over two years ago.

Before the setting up of the Malt processing plant,  the company was spending an average US$10 million annually to import  the raw material from Europe used in the production of its clear beer, Castle, Mosi and Castle Lite beverages.

It was not until the company evaluated the cost of doing business, did it consider setting up the over US$33 million state of the art-malt processing plant at the MFEZ site to defray expenses.

The malt processing plant and other operations in Lusaka, brewing both clear beer and opaque beverages have been fitted with the latest technology and building capacity, ideally to bolster production capacity, ultimately creating more jobs, remit more taxes as well as extend its investment to society and the economy.

In partnering with the Government on job creation and self-sustaining projects, ostensibly to assist fight poverty, Zambia Breweries has devised a long term deliberate and all inclusive policy for citizens’ benefit.

It has created an out-grower cassava scheme covering over 4,000 small-scale farmers, predominantly women and youths, from Luapula Province and Kasama District, who are providing the ingredient for the brewing and production of Eagle Lager brand, now a household beverage-100 percent Cassava made.

As though that’s not enough, the company has undertaken an outreach programme to assist communities maintain hygiene through cleaning of all solid waste through Manja Pamodzi project, initially focused in Lusaka before expanding to outlying towns-all under CSR.

Management of the company can attest to this commitment.  It is convinced that given the latitude by Government to grow its investment and flexible taxation policies, Zambia stands to benefit more than what the eye can see now and for the future.

“By investing, we are helping the economy grow, and this means more jobs, business for retail traders and a knock-on effect for the wider community," Jose Moran, the director recently said. He outlines the company’s vision for Zambia.

“At Zambian Breweries, our dream is to bring people together for a growing world; part of that dream is to ensure we are an investor in Zambia for the long-term.” 

Through investing in the latest technology and building capacity the company envisions to grow production capacity, ultimately create more jobs,  broaden tax revenue for Government and create a greater contribution to society and the economy,

The investment in production capacity has also had a knock-on effect along the company’s supply chain, growing the market for local agricultural products as it works with Government to diversify from traditional copper mining to agriculture-chiefly in cassava out grower production scheme.

“To get there, we will drive agricultural productivity, innovation and resilience to support our growers and their communities. Moran further adds.

Production of clear beer has undoubtedly added impetus to the company’s growth prospects, resulting in an over 16 percent production growth compared to years earlier.

This has been spurred by improved demand across segments and strong growth of its affordable Eagle lager, according to various company authorities, including company finance director, Faith Mukutu.

The dreams of investing in excess of US$100 million in bolstering the Ndola processing plant and increase its beverages is eventually becoming a reality, with the plant expected to be commissioned before the close of this year.

Country director Annabelle Degroot had stated that the initial projection of US$30 million capital injection was planned to enable the company to develop a one million hecto-litre packaging line, a yardstick to expanding the Eagle beer line as well as other clear beers.
The company’s vision is to expand its brewing capacity and raise the beverage output to 1.850 million litres from the present 850,000 litres, given more packaging to meet consumer demand.

The company’s vision for expansion remains long term, which according to  Degroot, will see the country extend its investment portfolio to over US$400 million, spurred by an ideal investment climate as it plans to further set up more projects including a new warehouse in Ndola.

Her estimations on investment, tallies with Molan. Degroot earlier disclosed that in the past five years, Zambia Breweries ploughed in in excess of  US$350 million to build capacity and enhance the beverage product line.

The company’s vision has been inspired by it being recently acquired by ABInBev, a joinder expected to help grow the Zambian business and other businesses globally.

Global brewing giant Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev), the new owners, recently took over the Sab Miller businesses globally, including the Zambian subsidiary and the new shareholder have focused on the Nigeria, South Africa and Zambian markets with commitment to look beyond in its expansion.

In a separate interview, Head of corporate communications Ezekiel Sekele cited the investment in the Ndola plant, to be commissioned this year, as a milestone to building blocks for increased investment and production of Eagle lager-clear beer beverages in Zambia.

The investment of over US$30 million by the company gave rise to the increase in production of the clear beer to 1.750 hecto liters from 1,000,000 and an earlier production of a meager 750 000 hecto litres per annum, which was not enough to meet consumer demand.

Zambia breweries focus beyond the Zambian market, has given a challenge to the shareholders whose plans are now focused on continued expansion of its production of all beverages, ranging from clear beer and soft drinks, including saturating the local market to meet demand.

 “Earlier, demand had outstripped supply and this lead the board of directors to approve the initial $30 million for recapitalizing for a new production line and increase production to sustain the growing demand,”

The cassava brewed Eagle Iager, has incidentally received overwhelming demand from discerning customers and has created its own niche on the market with demand for the new brand tripled in the last one year, feared could be a competitor with the traditional lager-Mosi.

The emerging of Eagle lager on the market has given impetus to the company to demand more from out growers in Luapula  in which more than  4,000 are being sought to provide the ingredient.

Earlier projections by the company were to buy an estimated 35,000 tons of the crop but the demand has prompted for a rethink of strategy as the market demand grows. However, the company is considerate of non-alcohol consumers. Plans are afoot, probably this year to introduce non-alcohol and low alcohol-about three percent beverages to respond to the needs of customers as a way of meeting the needs of all citizens.

Three years ago, Zambia Breweries had faced a torrid time with the Zambia’s taxation regime, which threatened its security of tenure on investment.

The company’s threats came in the wake of the Government raising the clear beer tax to about 50 percent, which wiped much of the company’s profitability and rendered the company unable to recapitalize local beverage operations.

According to data, the 50 percent clear beer tax, slapped and effected 1 January 2014 saw the company incur production and sales losses in excess of 25 percent.

This problem was compounded by the sharp depreciation in the kwacha value against other major currencies, which eventually saw the company’s profit after tax fall to K131, 837 million from K175, 478 million, according to a financial report for the year ended 31 March 2015.

A note from management and shareholders showed mixed feelings:  “Disappointingly, our poor financial performance compelled us to declare 122 positions redundant in the year and the resultant costs of this exercise are reflected in our overhead costs for the year,’

The company’s mainstream 375ml Mosi, Castle and Carling Black Labels volumes had its share of fate-declining 23 percent in the first three quarters of the year. The company, then majority owned by SABMiller cited the significant decline in volumes to the excise related price increase in January, and the growth of the economy offerings.

The development gave an insight to the company on the sensitivity of the Zambian consumers to price increases and how important affordability was and remains to the prevailing economic environment.

‘We mitigated this decline by aggressively launching a 750ml bulk economy offering in Mosi and Castle in the last quarter and by driving our economy brand, Eagle. In addition, we took the difficult decision in the last quarter to reduce the price of our 375ml Mosi, Castle and Carling Black Label packs from K6.5 to K6,’ the note added.

 ‘While our volumes recovered to some extent to record a smaller decline for the year of  eight percent, and  the measures we took to achieve this have significantly impacted our margin.’

The volume decline resulted in the barley crop requirement from Europe being scaled down to 8,000 tons during the period, from the contracted 12,000 tons sourced on average. This increase resulted in Zambia Breweries clear beer beverages costing more compared to regional competitors, spurred by increased taxes, coupled with unabated smuggling of beverages.

 ‘Our beer has become the most expensive in the region owing to the higher taxes, and competition from smuggled beer is now a more credible threat,’ the statement  added.
More smuggled Castle Lite found a better market in Zambia compared to Castle Lite sold by Zambian Breweries Plc, a slump in revenue to Government and a threat to the business.

Soft drinks, however, did not experience the price shake up and in turn grew 10 percent a year earlier, spurred by improved availability and a real focus on market trade execution.

The company engaged Government and other stakeholders on how to proceed under hostile market forces and sustain the zeal to continue investing in Zambia.

“We believe we can contribute more to the economy by way of investment, employment and tax under a 40 percent clear beer excise regime rather than the current 60 percent regime, and are encouraged by Government’s willingness to consider all the issues put before them.’ 

Former finance minister, Felix Mutati, realizing the contributions rendered by Zambia Breweries assured of the Government’s support and allayed fears that the investment was a a risky venture while in Zambia.

Speaking when  he toured the Ndola-Eagle brewing plant and impressed with the Hi tech Zambia Breweries cassava processing plant on 3 December, 2016 Mutati assured the company of Government’s support and ensure the taxation regime is not retrogressive to the growth of the company.

“This is a confluence of technology, tax policy and the farmer. After touring the plant I am amazed at the investment in technology and the way that the Zambians are controlling the processes.

“So, this is industrialisation at the apex and we think that if we have these good examples such as Zambian Breweries, if others can emulate what you people are doing here, Zambia will move many steps ahead. So for me, you are combining agriculture with industrialisation but also attending to opportunities for that farmer who had lost hope in cassava, sorghum , barley, so you are a composition of a total solution which is what I called the Itawa springs solution,”

Mutati was impressed with the in technology and research induced into the plant-dubbed Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF), which modify the recipe, reducing to 60 per cent sorghum and 40 per cent cassava.
Earlier Eagle Lager contained 60 per cent sorghum, 30 per cent sucrose, and 10 per cent cassava.  The new technology saw the company meet its beverage specification. The SSF technology,  involves  installing new equipment with a modified cassava intake system and a dynamic fermentation tank. The new production method enables more cassava to be sourced from small-scale farmers.

On taxation concerns, Mutati allayed fears by the company and that with a stable regime; it will enable companies, Zambia Breweries alike, to invest with guarantee of real returns on investment.

 “Companies like Zambian Breweries are a demonstration that it’s good to pay tax and the level of tax is inducing growth. Our tax will remain stable so that you (Zambian Breweries) can continue to invest. K1.3 billion (revenue in tax) is not a small amount.  

Mutati stressed the importance of tax to Government sustainability. “See how tax has motivated investment. We are collecting a lot more because of consistency in taxation. We have been able to get K1.3 billion so far from only one company because of consistency. So, it tells you that consistency in tax policy is a driver for investment and a driver for jobs,”

Degroot, agreed with Mutati while reaffirming the company’s desire to extend its CSR to communities, if considerations for some tax waivers were made to ensure sustainability in operations.

 “We can make our business to grow volumes and make profits but only if our people in communities’ benefit from the Eager Lager project we are carrying out. We don’t want to make money at the expense of the community. We want our business to prosper whilst the community prospers,” she said.

Zambia Breweries, has other responsibilities that go with its investment and key among others include regulating the drinking habits by both under-age as well as elderly, chiefly the motorists to lessen fatality.

Two years ago, the company realized the unabated alcohol abuse was on the upswing, mainly among under age and embarked on a campaign to discourage the abuse particularly in schools as a contribution to enhancing education sector.

It had engaged various personalities including artists in fighting the scourge it feared would alarming proportions if left unchecked.

The meetings involve person to person contacts with pupils at various schools in Lusaka campaign to discourage underage drinking in schools.

Among other personalities tasked to undertake literacy on alcohol abuse include, Zambian Breweries representative Allan Bwalya and scores of artists that were used as role models to discourage drinking in their information programme.

“We are rolling out our campaign against underage drinking in secondary schools because this is the age at which young people start engaging in beer drinking,” he said during a meeting at Kabulonga Boys during one of the sessions.

“We want to remind pupils that beer is for adults and there is an age limit to it. We are also educating the pupils on the effects of underage drinking, and pointing out that they should wait until they complete school.”

The company had managed to reach 1,100 during the Kabulonga Boys campaign from the targeted 5,000 pupils it sought to reach for the whole of 2016.

Motorists were not spared to with the Zambia Breweries having partnered with the Road Transport Safety Agency (RTSA) through the donation of over 100 copies of the Highway Code to the school as well as donating eight breatherisers to detect alcohol content among drivers.

The partnership with RTSA and the National Road Safety Foundation, in the enforcement of existing legislation on drinking and driving also helped matters as many offenders were taken to task, with some being fined, imprisoned or fine altogether as a deterrent.

Zambia Breweries went to length and sought the indulgence of various other personalities to discourage excess drinking and ensure the beverage was consumed responsibly.

Renowned personality,  Dr Mulimansenga Michael Chanda  was sought as the first independent chairperson of its Sales and Marketing Compliance Committee (SMCC),  ostensibly to ensure alcohol was consumed within limits by all age groups.

Being a public health physician, a health development specialist and an advocate for a national alcohol policy, Chanda, also a part-time senior lecturer at the University of Lusaka was seen as the ideal candidate for the post.

He became the first independent chairperson of the SMCC, having been chosen from outside Zambian Breweries, to avoid any possible bias within the committee because of his 20 year practicing experience.

During his tenure, the company devised a Zambia National Alcohol Policy to regulate drinking and to protect members of the public, whether they choose to drink or not.

Chanda, who headed a committee, also partnered with RTSA and armed with breathalysers worth over K100,000, they jointly undertook random road patrols, which culminated into reduced or controlled drinking by motorists while  driving saying.

“Some saw the Liquor Licensing Act for the first time. Some did not know that they have the right not to give another beer to a drunken customer and can stop one from drinking,” stated Chanda.

On 7 December last year, the RTSA-Zambia Breweries partnership was entrenched to promote responsible drinking with breweries management expressing desire to joint hands infighting the abuse of the beverage.

“We are very serious when we say – don’t drink and drive.” Molan said during the hand over.
“Don’t drink and drive is one of the pillars in our smart drinking campaign, which is based on teaching our consumers and society in general, about the harm of alcohol abuse.

RTSA chief executive officer and director Zindaba Soko was overwhelmed by the gesture and warned erring motorists.

 “This is a strong message to the motorist out there.” Soko added of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two parties a year earlier as a deterrent.

The MoU, entails Zambian Breweries making an annual contribution of K200,000 to the agency towards its campaigns on educating society about drinking and driving until this year to reach more people.
The opening of the US$33 million Lusaka malting plant by President Edgar Lungu on 31 March last year,  the first of its kind,  epitomized Zambia Breweries commitment to remain  in Zambia, having spent a staggering US$10 million annually to import Barley from abroad to secure the brewing ingredient.

President Lungu stated: “This new facility, which is the first of its kind in Zambia, will enable locally grown barley to be processed into malt, the main ingredient for clear beer.

“It will contribute to creating business for farmer suppliers who will provide the brewery with barley, thus spurring economic growth and job creation, ultimately putting more money in people’s pockets,”

And Degroot said the opening of the plant was a milestone for the company and that it will assist bolster business for the company, having endured the taxation period which affected its business.
 “At the time that clear beer excise was reduced to 40 percent, some people were worried about such a move, but that bold policy by government has proved to be absolutely the right decision and a win-win for government and business.
“Zambian Breweries is committed to following the law; to paying taxes; and to promoting responsible drinking. Zambian Breweries is also committed to continued investment in Zambia,” she added.
The group’s investments seeks to help the company grow production volumes, increasing employment opportunities, enable the company to buy more agricultural commodities, barley, maize, sorghum and cassava from local suppliers and boost sales to increase overall tax revenue to the government.
The new plant is now processing locally grown barley to be processed into malt, creating more business for farmer suppliers who provide the brewery with barley and ultimately spurring economic growth, job creation and national development.
Construction of the plant which began in January 2015 and employed 1,000 workers at peak of the construction has recruited over 50 permanent workers.
It has a maximum capacity of 15,000 tons of finished malt per year, creating a surplus over the brewery’s current demand of 10,000 tons and thus producing excess supply that can be exported.
The barley is stored in 10-massive 1,500 ton-silos, each 32 metres high, involving the country’s largest single pour of concrete – 1,800 cubic metres – for their foundations.
The company realizes the real returns expected to the community and has sought to engage various beneficiaries in enhancing better lives as well as ensure the communities benefit from the investment.

Key among other CSR obligations the company has undertaken is the Manja Pamodzi project, initiated towards the end of last year, which involves collection of solid waste from various households and ensure sustained hygiene.

The Manja Pamodzi initiative is a post-consumer waste clean-up project which is aimed at creating a clean environment and empowering communities and was established by Zambian Breweries, National Breweries and Heinrich’s Syndicate in 2014 and was officially launched in August 2015.

The project is currently co-funded by Zambian Breweries and the Millennium Challenge Account Zambia and is supported by Lusaka City Council and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).

It has since been launched in 10 districts: Ngombe, Matero, Chawama, George/Lilanda, Kamwala, Mtendere, Kalikiliki, Kalale Chunga and Chibolya and its network consists of 457 collectors, of which 334 are female and 123 male.

However the collaboration with Lusaka City Council has accelerated and more than doubled the solid waste collection in various Lusaka townships compared to last year’s 3,000 tons of cumulative total recyclable materials collected.

The “keep the surrounding clean project”, underway in several Lusaka compounds  has cheered Government.

Last year, Minister in the Office of the Vice President, Sylvia Chalikosa commended Zambian Breweries’ for initiating Manja Pamodzi project which conforms with government’s determination to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Keep Zambia Clean campaign targets.

Chalikosa, during the Manja Pamodzi multi-stakeholder engagement meeting in Lusaka recently, Chalikosa called on other companies to partner with Zambian Breweries in the project.

“As a government, we are happy with projects that are aimed at complementing our efforts,” Chalikosa stated.

A the same event, Zambian Breweries country director Jose Moran for an urgent need to double the amount of waste collected and the number of aggregators and called on partners interested in the Manja Pamodzi project to support the scheme in anticipation that in the near future the project will be a stand-alone programme.

“We already have eight aggregators here in Lusaka so let us work together to double that.  We invite other companies and partners to join in supporting the project. We would like to expand the project to outside the city of Lusaka.”

The expansion of Manja Pamodzi depended on more stakeholders and potential partners willing to support the project. Zambia Breweries has since donated various trucks and equipment to assist in the collection of recyclable waste.

In Munali, areas lawmaker, Professor Nkandu Luo commended Zambia Breweries for the initiative and envisages that with the collaboration with local communities, hygiene will be improved and reduce preventable diseases including cholera.

Luo further noted that the project, if well harnessed, will assist energise people in various communities to work in the same direction by bringing people together for a better world.
“It’s a good project and if well harnessed it will be a money spinner and will in return empower members of the community to use litter as an income-generating venture while at the same time aiming to make Zambia clean.

Margaret Mwanakatwe, the Lusaka Central lawmaker noted that the community waste recycling initiative creates  new business opportunities through an innovative public-private partnership and urged communities in her constituency to work with Zambia Breweries and other partners to develop the programme.

“Manja Pamodzi has seen most of the women take up the challenger is cleaning up their environment because they realize what they have to benefit…..it’s a good initiative which needs our support” she said in a recent interview.

She added that the innovation in not only complementing the local authority’s clean-up efforts but also for creating enterprise opportunities for community members who are engaged in this initiate.

According to Mwanakatwe, the project will enhance empowerment for collectors, who are identified through environmental education and sensitisation drives with a particular attention on recycling.
A random survey undertaken shows that the Manja Pamodzi project has been well received in various communities with local people collecting their solid waste and dispose them off through the collectors and realize some money.

The collectors gather an assortment of wastes including plastic bottles, Chibuku cartons and other recyclable materials from the various communities. Collectors then deliver the waste to buying-centre collection points where aggregators buy them in bulk and process the discarded material into bales that are sold to recycling companies to be processed into other materials such as tissue.

Zambia Breweries’ Sekele says the initiative is for a good cause and aims to ultimately improve the livelihood of the people and aims to minimise the amount of littering in communities through environmental health education as well as encourage recycling. 

Lusaka Mayor, Wilson Kalumba is happy with the Manja Pamodzi project adding that the initiative is helping to keep Lusaka clean through the collection of  waste in communities, many lacking the disposable bins.

In January this year, Lusaka City Council sought to compliment the initiative by Zambia Breweries and procured 8 tipper trucks valued at K6 million to enhance garbage collection activities in the capital.
Kalumba promised more equipment to be procured to ensure solid waste is contained in various communities. The fleet will enhance garbage collection and other activities that the council undertakes in the city.
Lusaka City Council has in recent months been unabale to effective collect garbage in the Central Business District as well as communities because of lack of adequate equipment.
According to Kalumba, the city has on average three trucks running for garbage collection and that most of the equipment is obsolete hence, prompting the local authority to purchase eight more trucks to enhance solid waste management in the city, having experienced cholera cases, with Lusaka having recorded higher numbers of victims.
However, Kalumba stressed that the momentum that the council has will only be maintained with the right equipment and mindset by the residents of Lusaka who will at some point be compelled to pay towards the management of solid waste.
“Garbage collection everywhere in the world is a costly venture, so we need to find resources and people will need to be ready to start contributing to the cost of running waste collection in the city,”
The mayor urged residents of the city to start paying for garbage disposal. 
A universal garbage collection fee as not yet been determined but will be determined by how many people will be covered by measure.
The smaller the number of people being captured, the higher the fees and the larger the collection base, the smaller the amount of fees to be levied, according to Kalumba.
This was to be achieved by empowering and supporting emergent entrepreneurs across Zambia, beginning in Lusaka, by tapping into their potential and providing them with a recycling platform.

However, Manja Pamodzi project manager Elaine Kafwimbi is happy with the progression of the project and that presently over 160 collectors have been registered and 300 tons of waste has been collected.

“The initiative has seen the tremendous impact these collectors make on their community and we are generally happy with the response from the communities where the project has been initiated and this has empowered the local people”

Vice-President Inonge Wina, supports the initiative too and will invariably create enterprise opportunities for collectors adding: “They will have the opportunity to kick-start businesses they were previously unable to start; it will assist them with funds for school fees to support their children’s academic aspirations”

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency is happy with the Zambia Breweries waste management initiative with its Director General  Maxwell Nkoya noting that if sustained will assist keep the city clean, with a call for various players to join hands in cleaning up the city.

“We are happy with Zambia Breweries initiative because they have made people realize the essence of keeping the environment clean.

“Under the provision dealing with waste,  we find the principle for extended producer responsibility where a company such as Zambian Breweries needs to dedicate resources either financially or otherwise to the product post”

 Other sensitization initiatives undertaken over the initiative include road shows across various townships in the city to create awareness among the people.

To support the cause, other stakeholders including the Millennium Challenge Account have joined hands with Zambia Breweries which has invested in excess $1.7 million in the Manja Pamodzi Project, aimed at empowering the community through the recycling business.

According to Project Manager Elaine Kafwimbi, said the project was initiated to help the local community especially young people create wealth through waste. There was too much waste that was being thrown away indiscriminately which needs to be collected and put in designated places for onward recycling into other finished products.

 “Zambian Breweries Plc and the Millennium Challenge Account have funded 100 percent of the operations of the Manja Pamodzi project. Since November 2015, the two organizations have put together a total funding of US $ 1.7 million.

“This has been done at a cost to the two institutions and with no incremental profit to them. The benefits arise from the starting up of a locally established recycling project,” she added.

According to Kafwimbi, the US$1.7 million was utilised to build sites in these compounds as a way of empowering the Local community. Once the collectors collected the waste from their areas they would sell the recyclables to the aggregators in those communities who would then sell the materials to the processing companies.

The initiative is supported by Zambian Breweries and its sister companies National Breweries and Heinrich’s Syndicate.

The ultimate for the environmental clean-up and recycling project is to minimise litter that can block drainage system and give rise to disease such as cholera and typhoid, especially during the rain season.

When all is said and done, Zambia Breweries Ltd, given teh diversity of its business and contributions to the Zambia's economic growth programme, remains an all weather partner in resolving the country's cry over its "stunted economic growth" as evidenced from various investments and commitments it is undertaking.

Go for IMF debt-bridge finance-ZIPAR ………’IMF financing to unlock external investment and donor resources’

Cheelo----IMF bail out key to Zambia's credibility and investor confidence

April  19 (Zambia Informer) Lusaka------Zambia needs to access the over US$1.3 billion bridge finance from the international Monetary Fund (IMF) if it has to reduce its indebtedness, analysts say.
Zambia’s debt is estimated at US$9 billion cumulatively with about US$3 billion owed in Euro Bonds sourced since 2012 for infrastructure development, but many analysts fear that unless stringent and a serious debt sustainability programme is underway soon, the country’s indebtedness could cause problems and result in failure to repay the loans when due by 2022-27.
The Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis Research (ZIPAR), a local think tank in its analysis says it was imperative for Zambia to liaise with the Bretton Wood institution and secure a debt package to avoid the country from further debt distress.
Without the IMF intervention, the Southern African state is at risk of remaining highly indebted and was likely to see a continuation of excessive spending and mounting fiscal imbalances between revenue and expenditure amid infrastructure developmental projects the country has embarked upon, including servicing roads, health institutions and other projects underway in the country.
Speaking at a meeting in Lusaka, Senior Research Fellow at ZIPAR, Caesar Cheelo,  in  the research organization report dubbed:  "Financing the Economic Stabilization and Growth Program (Zambia Plus) in the Shadow of the IMF",  noted that Zambia has no obligation but to face the crisis and liaise with IMF for possible funding of the US$1.3 billion being sought from the lender in recent years.
The deal with the international financiers was also vital as it would improve international confidence in Zambia and unlock external investment and donor resources and avoid continuation of fiscal slippages, mounting debts and possible external imbalances.
Last week, Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe said the issue of debt management will form part of discussions with the IMF during talks on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings.
Analysts have expressed concern over Zambia's true debt figures, with the government insisting that its official foreign debt currently stands at 8.7 billion dollars.
And Trevor Simumba, an international trade consultant said the government should stop being defensive about the country's growing debt and that the truth will soon come out.
"If  independent analysts are wrong then give us the correct figures not preliminary figures please. Citizens have every right to require transparent and verified government data on our debts," he said.
Zambia has been negotiating with the IMF for a possible aid package estimated at 1.3 billion U.S. dollars but the talks have stalled with the international financiers expressing concerns over the country's rising debt stock.
Last year, the IMF urged authorities to slow down on contraction of new debts, especially non-concessional loans, to maintain debt sustainability.
However, Fredson Yamba, the Secretary to the Treasury has allayed fears that Zambia could default on the debts acctued on due debts and that the country was making efforts to meet the obligations spurred by various economic and fiscal fundamentals that favour the country.
The country’s  stable political environment has contributed to the country’s economic growth through attracting investments from many sectors.
He said it cannot be argued that a stable political environment such as the one in Zambia is a prerequisite for any country’s economic growth.
The economy, he added, remains stable and the 4 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth recorded was testimony that Zambia is on the right economic path, citing the single inflation rate and the kwacha exchange rate against major currencies as some of the indicators that the economy was doing well.
Speaking in Addis Ababa enroute to Washington DC where he was going to attend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings added that  the government would use the IMF spring meetings to engage the fund on possible financing for the country.
A statement from Addis Ababa from  Secretary for Press and tourism at the Ethiopian embassy by In’utu Mwanza, cited Yamba as stating that government had put all measures in place requested by the IMF when they visited Zambia a few months ago and was confident that the IMF programme would soon start running.
He was optimistic the IMF would now accept to start a bailout programme with Zambia.
Yamba further said Government was encouraging more people not only to venture into the Agricultural sector but also into Value addition.

He added that the construction industry was booming in Zambia and he expressed confidence that this too would attract investment.
He said the construction of energy plants was good as it would encourage more people to invest in production.
And commenting on the performance of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Yamba said government was happy that the tax authority was performing well with Government seeking to broaden the domestic mobilization tax base for national development.

He was however, concerned that enforcement of Tax collection was still a challenge while expressing concern that some people were still evading tax remittance.
And on the the Eurobonds, Yamba reiterated government’s commitment to ensure that it meets its obligations and  had put mechanisms to ensure that it pays back the first Eurobond that falls due in 2022.
Government had options including refinancing the euro bond, a matter  which was still being looked into and that a position on the matter would be availed to the public soon.