FQM WORKS TO HELP LOCAL BUSINESSES REACH TRUE POTENTIAL
The mining firm firmly believes SMEsplay an important role in employment creation and economic growth but that entrepreneurs are faced with challenges during both the start-up and growth phase of their businesses, losing prospects available to them.
“Through our Trident Foundation in Kalumbila, we are supporting initiatives that aim to improve the skills of local business owners and increase the capacity of businesses to provide competitive and high-quality supplies and services not just to the mine, but other sectors of the economy,” said FQM head of government affairs John Gladston.
In 2017, the Trident Foundation trained 83 local businesses from Musele Chiefdom. The candidates were selected from a grassroots roadshow with Musele Chamber of Commerce, offering business formalisation, training and selected micro-loans to local entrepreneurs. Interested business owners had to show commitment by registering their enterprises with the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) as a precondition for training and micro-loans. As a direct outcome of this business formalisation and training, and KML’s commitment to local procurement, local companies in cleaning, security, landscaping, construction, light vehicle maintenance, transport, waste collection, agricultural supply, hundreds of small-scale commercial beekeepers, livestock farmers, chicken producers, vegetable and legume producers have been established and are growing their businesses.
Mr Gladston said that local business development had long been a priority at FQM, adding there is a lot of potential for Zambian businesses to thrive, but to maximise the opportunities a concerted effort is required from all sectors.
“Creating an empowering environment for local businesses requires collaborative ways of working: across functions within Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML), with our suppliers and contractors, with communities, and with government. We are committed to regular communication and dialogue with these stakeholders to advance efforts and share progress in this regard,” he added.
The mining firm is of the view that building communication and collaboration between government and the mining sector remains a vital tool to facilitating the growth and sustainability of local businesses.
“Through the KML Commercial Department, we will progressively identify and buy from qualified and competitive local suppliers and contractors. It must be emphasised that KML will not compromise on quality, competitiveness, delivery, service, safety, the environment, or any other technical requirements. Sound business principles and good governance will underlie all transactions. In addition, secondary economic development and lasting commercial opportunities will be created through Kalumbila town, with the goal of continued development and economic growth beyond the life of mine in mind,” Mr Gladston continued. It is imperative that the Statutory Instrument for the creation of the Kalumbila Multi-Economic Zone is signed in order to provide the incentives that Zambia businesses need, implored Mr Gladston.
FQM believes that besides providing short-term macroeconomic and fiscal policies to support growth in the employment sector, establishing entrepreneurship at the heart of the education system is a key long-term initiative that will help provide an atmosphere where the dreams of young people to start their own enterprises and be self-employed can be realised. KML’s approach builds on the groundwork in local business development by Kansanshi Mining PLC over the last 10 years.
Mr Gladston said that the challenges facing SMEs in North-Western Province are no different to those faced by their colleagues in other provinces, and common among the challenges they face is how they can participate in and contribute to Zambia’s economic growth.
As a new mining operation, Kalumbila Minerals Limited emphasises creating policies and procedures to effectively guide the company’s activities with a focus on sustainable development. Local Business Development is one of KML’s priorities, and in July 2017 the company signed the Local Business Development Policy.
During the remainder of last year, KML’s commercial department and the Trident Foundation have worked hard at putting the policy into action, and more is in store for quarter one 2018 so watch this space.
FQM’s commitment and action in local business development and procurement, and the long-term secondary economic development opportunities offered by Kalumbila Town, offer small and medium-sized businesses with a multitude of opportunities and a bright future.