Lusaka – The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is set to partner with development finance institutions and the private sector in setting up road and telecommunications networks in the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ).

The LS-MFEZ Limited is a subsidiary of IDC of which President Edgar Lungu is the chairperson.

Chief executive officer Andrew Chipwende said IDC would partner with the development finance institutions and the private sector to help construct 100 kilometres of road network in the MFEZ as it was at the centre of industrial activities.

Mr Chipwende said in order to support the Government's economic diversification policy, the LS-MFEZ needed to be at the centre of industrial activities and operations.

Once fully operational, up to 400 companies will set base in the MFEZ with a projected 100,000 jobs to be created.

"The strategy we will be using is that, rather than wait for investors to come in and start doing all the work, we will be able to do the initial pre-operational work in order to make it easier for both local and international investors to invest in the MFEZ. The LS-MFEZ has 2,100 hectares of land and 120 kilometres of roads which are supposed to be done but to date, only 20km of the road network has been done," he said.

Mr Chipwende said IDC would be setting up 600 megawatts of solar station in the LS-MFEZ because power supply had been a challenge for industrial development.

"If we can have reliable power supply fully servicing the LS-MFEZ, more investors will be willing to set up here because we have tax incentives. We shall do the same for the water supply and telecommunications," he said.

Mr Chipwendwe said his organisation would not be funded by the Government but would use the shares and assets from the 34 State-owned enterprises (SOEs).

He said the Government had done what it could to support these enterprises to fully be operational and cited Times Printpak as one firm that had made strides towards being self-sustaining.

"We can still do more to enhance the performance of these entities and ensure that these entities are more competitive and are able to compete on the global front," he said.

Mr Chipwende said they were re-focusing the model of all the SOEs so that they could operate purely on commercial principles.

He said as a result, the Government had transferred shares and assets of the SOEs and that President Lungu had continued to give leadership and guidance to the direction that the IDC was taking in terms of leading the transformation of industrialisation and diversification.