Below is the message from Dictator and Thief Edgar Lungu to the country as Zambia plays against Nigeria.
……Beer as an Engine of Economic Growth….
As the annual Oktober Beer Festival starts, I would like to share the economic importance of beer to the Zambian economy. While we all enjoy a cold beer on a hot day like today, the benefits of beer are beyond their consumption effects.
When you drink a beer, you are participating in the beer value chain at the ultimate level, creating value and benefits to producers of beer, as well as the intermediate support services such as engineering, transport, accounting and legal services – including health services.
If we are really concerned about industrialisation and diversification, let us look to value addition in agro-processing, and indeed, beer brewing is one such industry that adds value to agro produce. For example, SABMiller injected $90million into a brewing plant in 2014 in Ndola. In 2015 SABMiller begun setting up a $32.6million Malting plant in the Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone to process locally produced barley – this is the high value addition to agro produce that feeds directly into diversification. That we only have one firm- Zambia Breweries that produces clear beer in Zambia is an indication that there is potential for other firms to get into the industry. Recently, the Chinese have begun exploiting this potential and are now brewing clear Ales and other clear beers sold in casks, e.g, Emperor Beer.
Furthermore, in 2015, the most engineering advanced Chibuku brewing plant in Africa was launched that begun producing my favourite Chibuku Shake Shake super. This plant is an engineering marvel and we should be proud as a country to have such an investment.
I know we pride ourselves as being a Christian nation, but let us also not blind ourselves to who we really are – we love our beer – we love to have a good time. We are a nation of drinkers who love to live a good life, and what better way to enjoy the hot weather than a cold Mosi or Castle lager brewed from local barley? Or the bar and restaurant Lusaka beer from Midlands Breweries?
Increasing brewing incentives through enhancing demand such as the annual beer festival and reduced excise taxes is likely to increase the hectolitres of beer produced per year. Noting Zambia’s position, once we become competitive beer producers, we can begin to export to markets outside us, particularly the Congo which is a ready market for Zambian producs.
This is diversification of the export sector. Further research and development in the Zambian beer industry could see the diversification of beers produced. For example, we could move into the production if Rum, in which the main ingredient is Molasses which can easily be accessed from Mazabuka in Southern Province.
Did you know, that the larger number of jobs created in the hospitality industry are attributable to the sale of beer? In-fact, over 50% of services offered in the Zambian entertainment industry are nothing but beer or beer enhanced activities or consumption.
That said, let me conclude by saying that the value and importance of beer to the Zambian economy is not in its consumption effects, but in its income generating and job creation effects that range for excise tax; profit tax; incomes tax and importantly aiding agricultural based industrialisation and diversification. So the next time you see me at Ohagans, see me in the light of a true Zambian patriot enhancing growth and development through industrialisation.
Let us therefore support our President’s efforts in creating 1 million jobs and diversification through increased beer drinking.
Let the drinking begin.
Working to develop Zambia.
Edgar C. Lungu.