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Govt offers action plan to boost textile & clothing sector
Aug '08
The textile and clothing sector of Zambia will receive an entirely recapitalized and upgraded plan of action in November this year, just before the expiry of quotas on Chinese clothing and textiles imports.

At a meeting held last week, details of the plans for the sector were unfolded by the trade and industry department officials and a decision was taken to implement the long-awaited reforms program for the industry.

One of the core aspect of the plan will include widening of incentives offered to the textile and clothing sector. It was revealed during the meeting that the Government was contemplating an incentive scheme for capital up-gradation which will be distributed through the development program for small businesses which has been re-launched last month as the Enterprise Incentive Program.

While the trade and industry department has plans to fund research & development and upgrade skills, the state, will take efforts to check illegal imports which has been pointed out by the exporters as the biggest threat to the industry.

Besides, a plan has also been initiated to improve competitiveness of the clothing industry by reviewing import duties on textiles which will aim at eliminating unnecessary tariffs. Accordingly, duties on fabric not produced in Southern African Customs Union would be eliminated while duties on textiles not manufactured in sufficient quantities would be brought under examination.

Moreover, since fabric purchase accounts for nearly half of the expense involved in making clothes, a more channelised and well directed textile tariff regime would considerably help reduce input costs. This apart, the action plan also encompasses a new productivity-based incentive program that would replace the export-based Duty Credit Certificate Scheme (DCCS).

While the entire set of action plan would be launched in November, the DCCS replacement scheme would only come into effect by May next year. Nonetheless, the ongoing initiatives taken by the Government has brought some relief to manufacturers and exporters of the textile and clothing industry who are hopeful that the implementation of the projected plans would bring better days for the sector.

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