IDC engine for economic growth – Shamenda

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GOVERNMENT says its decision to create the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is not an after-thought as insinuated by some sections of society.
Acting chief Government spokesperson Fackson Shamenda said the move is part of government’s overall economic agenda aimed at improving people’s living standards through rigorous and robust job creation as espoused in the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto.
Mr Shamenda said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that Government is not resurrecting INDECO but establishing a whole public holding company, necessitated by current realities.
“While the concept and objective of the former INDECO under the UNIP government and the proposed IDC may be similar, the economic environment then and now is totally different.
“The doubts and fear being expressed by some people that the introduction of the proposed IDC will stifle the private sector and then the country to monopolistic and State-controlled economy are unfounded and unjustified,” Mr Shamenda said.
He said what is being created is not INDECO but IDC.
“This is the first and fundamental distinction between the two and which should define the mindset with which we are approaching this issue,” Mr Shamenda said.
He said IDC will come with a new strategic vision and mandate and will be an alternative engine of economic growth.
“We will put in place viable management structures and system and to ensure that there is no political interference,” Mr Shamenda said.
He said the fact that a similar structure once existed and failed has provided valuable lessons for Government to learn from.
He said ownership of INDECO was not the reason for its failure but bad management and political interference.
“This government is alive to this fact and will not repeat mistakes of the past. If the ownership was the issue, how then do you explain the fact that many private companies are failing and folding up,” he said.
Mr Shamenda said under the PF government, parastatal institutions have been performing much better than private companies and with proper management, IDC will do well and succeed where INDECO failed.
He said Zambians must not be obsessed with the ghost of the defunct INDECO but should instead strive to remind Government of the mistakes that were made in the past.
“You will recall that the MMD government embraced blind faith in the so-called market forces and the belief that Government had no business in business,” he said.
The minister said every government world over has strategic industries which it cannot leave to market forces or private sectors alone.
He said in developing countries like Zambia, the private sector may not easily go where government wants to take development or open up new opportunities.
Mr Shamenda said it is the duty of Government to open up neglected areas and lay down the necessary infrastructure which may attract private investment.
“Government’s decision to establish the IDC, therefore, does not amount to suffocating the private sector but that the two sectors complement each other in accelerating and deepening the country’s economic development,” he said.

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