Lusaka: First Quantum Minerals country manger General Kingsley Chinkuli says the real ability of a country to create wealth and jobs is through encouraging the private sector to invest and set up operations in the country. Speaking during a luncheon that was hosted in honour of President Michael Sata at the Mukuba Hotel in Ndola on Saturday, General Chinkuli said there was need for countries to reduce bureaucracy in cross-border movements and also reduce tariffs that inhibit cooperation.
"We humbly suggest that that the real ability of a country to create wealth and jobs is through encouraging the private sector to invest and set up operations in the country. Such companies can only succeed in an enabling environment. This is very clearly illustrated by the success of a country such as Singapore; on average it takes 35 seconds to clear a container entering or leaving the country. Their objective is to quickly bring raw materials into the country, add value and quickly get the produce to the market," he said.
"This compares to the time of 72 hours on average that a container might take to get cleared at the border crossing to get into Zambia. One has to wonder what the objective of such long delays is."
Gen Chinkuli said the recently initiated 'one-stop shop' customs clearance at Chirundu had been a great success and hoped that the same could be replicated to other border crossings in the country.
"Many countries in Africa are landlocked and in the case of Zambia, we are double-locked in terms of access to most ports. This makes it very difficult for our countries to be cost competitive as the border transfers add to costs both of imports and exports," he said.