ZAFFICO privatization ‘rumours’ spark riots in Kitwe

Zaffico plantation nursery

Zambians bad experience with the privatization process has boiled over with mere roumours of privatization of the nations timber producer sparked riots in Kitwe, Zambia’s second largest city by population. The grapevine in the local residents was doing rounds that Government has received an unsolicited offer and was about to sell out ZAFFICO, one of the few remaining state owned companies.

The Industrial Development Corporation – IDC public relations Manager Namakau Mukelabai has said that IDC has the mandate to reposition its existing portfolio of companies by ensuring sustainable growth and profitability, with the ultimate aim of listing the companies on the Lusaka Securities Exchange – LuSE for broader Zambian ownership and benefit through dividends.

She disclosed that Plans are underway to list ZAFFICO on the Lusaka Securities Exchange (LuSE) and all Zambians will have an opportunity to buy shares, thereby becoming part-owners of the company.

“Listing on the LuSE will provide Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited – ZAFFICO an opportunity to raise cheaper and longer dated capital to finance business growth. This in turn will support job creation and enhanced domestic resource mobilisation. In addition, listing on the LuSE will enhance overall corporate governance, transparency and accountability”, she stated.

She added that the listing of ZAFFICO will not only provide the company an opportunity to achieve its growth objective through the establishment of more plantations throughout the country, but will also accelerate job creation and increase the amount of raw timber available for value addition by its clientele.

In it’s statement made available to ZBT, IDC stated that they further wishes to inform the general public that ZAFFICO has not been sold to any investors, foreign or local and any information to the contrary is untrue.

Residents of Kitwe’s Kawama, Chimwemwe, Buchi and Kwacha residents have joined in a riot ignited by saw mill workers demanding that government tells the truth regarding the alleged sale of ZAFFICO to the Chinese.

ZAFFICO is a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) and a member of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Group, which was incorporated under the Companies Act CAP 388 of the Laws of Zambia for the purpose of developing and maintaining of pine and eucalyptus plantations and for the harvesting and commercial processing of timber to supply timber to the local and foreign market.

The Corporation was incorporated in September 1982 following the commercialisation of the Industrial Plantations Division of the Forestry Department.