By Nawa Mutumweno – Government has released ZMK42billion in the continued process of recapitalising the cash-strapped the fertilizer manufacturing firm, Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia Limited (NCZ).
According to a media release issued by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) public relations unit, of the funds released ZMK25 billion is strictly for the purpose of commencing the rehabilitation of the Kobe Ammonium Nitrate Plant 1 and re-commissioning it in order to facilitate local production of industrial explosives.
This intervention is in line with the government’s commitment towards improvement of local productive capacity and job creation through industrialisation.
‘’The remaining ZMK17 billion is targeted at making part payment of retirement packages to former employees of NCZ. The Ministry of Finance is confident that this action will alleviate the suffering of NCZ retirees and give them the capacity to look after their families, pay school fees for their children and help them begin their own wealth creation projects,’’ the release reads in part.
Government was delighted that after over 15 years of disuse, save for a short run in 1992, the NCZ Ammonium Nitrate Plant 1 will once again be cranking into life.
‘’As a shareholder on behalf of Government and in consultation with the relevant line ministries, we will soon develop and sign performance contracts with NCZ to ensure that the expected outcomes from the recapitalisation initiatives are achieved,’’ the (MOF) media release says.
Earlier, NCZ was earlier given ZMK144 billion under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for production of 30 000 MT of Compound ‘D’ fertilizer for the 2012/13 season.
And the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock says about 1 200 permanent and 300 casual jobs will be created due to this financial injection. Currently, NCZ has about 450 employees, trimmed down from over 1 000 in its ‘heydays’.