Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Elias Mubanga has challenged business men and women in Luapula Province to take up spaces at the newly commissioned Mansa Industrial Yard whose construction works started in 2017.
And the Minister has also directed the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to consider funding the putting up of a Mango processing plant at the Mansa Industrial Yard which will be producing Mango Juice.
Mr. Mubanga pointed out that the Industrial yards which government is putting up across the country are meant to help small and medium entrepreneurs to grow their business therefore it is important that spaces at the yards are given to the local people themselves.
Speaking when he commissioned the Mansa Industrial Yard which was constructed at the total cost of 24 million kwacha, the Minister indicated that the Mansa Industrial Yard is among the 8 yards which the government with support from the African Development Bank has put up in seven provinces.
He disclosed that the Mansa Industrial Yard is the second to be commissioned after the Western Province one and that his ministry will this week on Wednesday be commissioning the Kasama Industrial yard and thereafter those in Chipata, Lusaka, Copper belt and North-Western Provinces will follow.
“We want to see a number of factories at this Mansa Industrial Yard such as fish processing, Rice processing, Mango processing and even Cassava Value addition as this is what will create employment for the youths who will be expected to be working at these processing factories,” he revealed.
Mr. Mubanga notes that Luapula has a lot to offer in terms of products which can even be exported to other countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and all that is needed is value addition to all the products which will be produced.
And CEEC Board Chairperson Jason Kazilimani said the commission has already started the process of selecting entrepreneurs who will be given spaces at the Industrial yards and that the exercise will soon come to an end.
Mr. Kazilimani revealed that all those who will be selected to occupy the workshops at the Industrial yards will be given the loans according to their business proposals and that the loans will be paid back within a period of three to five years.
The CEEC board chairperson pointed out that the Commission will continue to foster the development of small and medium enterprises in the country by supporting them with loans and grants as a way of ensuring they grow their business.
Meanwhile, Chief Kalasa Lukangaba of the Ushi People in Mansa district has thanked the government for delivering the industrial yard to the people of Luapula Province as it will help to spark economic activities in the Province.
The Chief who spoke through his representative observed that Luapula has lagged behind due to the non-availability of industries which can create employment for the people but the scenario will change with the coming of the Industrial Yard.
“With this structure now in place, we are very optimistic that our children will be able to find employment as opposed to them just roaming the streets thereby engaging in vices such as beer drinking and substance abuse,” he said.
The traditional leader pledged to continue releasing land for development in his chiefdom to the government as that is what will open up the area for more developments which will help in uplifting the living standards of his subjects.