Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu has implored companies under the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to explore synergies and do business amongst themselves and keep wealth within.
Dr Ng’andu said, with the combined balance sheet value around K100 billion and Group revenue exceeding K15.6 billion annually, the IDC represents immense financial strength to exert a formidable presence in the country.
He was speaking in Livingstone at the IDC’s 4th Annual Group Conference, which was held under the theme “Optimising Group Synergies for Business Growth”. The conference deliberations were anchored around promoting synergies for intra-Group trade and exploring strategies for business collaboration.
Dr Ng’andu said IDC companies procured K9.9 billion worth of goods in 2019, making the Group one of the largest consumers of goods and services in the country, yet intra-Group trade was at 0.05% of total Group revenues.
“How is it possible that companies spread across a diversity of 12 sectors are unable to create business opportunities for each other?,” he asked the delegates, who included Board Chairpersons, CEOs and Chief Financial Officers of the Group’s 36 subsidiaries and investee companies.
Dr Ng’andu, however, noted that the companies needed to deal with attendant factors that would increase their capacity to trade within the Group, among them improving the quality of their goods and services and strengthening their financial positions.
He added that the Government was making necessary policies, regulations and laws that would facilitate companies to do business together, without inducing inefficiency and uncompetitive tendencies.
Meanwhile, member of the IDC Board of Directors, Father Leonard Chiti, said the IDC had made some tremendous strides over the last few years to transform the companies under its portfolio. He said the companies had improved corporate governance, with 14 new Boards created over the last three years.
Fr Chiti said because of improved oversight, the companies paying dividends has increased from one to eight over the last five years. He said the IDC operationalized nine additional companies in strategic sectors, increasing its asset base from the initial K42 billion to K107 billion and creating 13,834 jobs in the process.
He said in the next five years, the IDC planned to engage in US$1 billion co-investments and to double investments in the agricultural, tourism and manufacturing sectors to create 35,000 new jobs.
And IDC Group CEO Mr Mateyo Kaluba said, while Covid-19 had impacted economies, companies and individuals, the companies in the IDC Group performed beyond the Group’s initial fears, except for those in the Tourism and Hospitality industry.
Mr Kaluba welcomed new companies in the IDC Group, which include Marcopolo Tiles Limited, Kawambwa Tea Industries Limited and Zambia Reinsurance Plc.