By Nawa Mutumweno – The Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) has through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) with Protea Hotels Zambia worth $90.3 million to facilitate for the expansion and construction of 15 hotels in Zambia.
This ambitious investment programme will create a projected direct employment of 885 permanent jobs and a further 800 supported jobs of which 98% will be for Zambians.
According to Protea Hotels Zambia chairperson Mark O’Donnell, the investment plan outlined in the IPPA include the establishment of a new hotel in Chipata (Eastern Province)and Southern Belle to be located at Lake Kariba on the border with Zimbabwe to be opened later this year.
Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Felix Mutati disclosed that Government was working on measures to reduce 27 licences that were slowing down growth in the tourism sector.
“ We will ensure that we reduce licences that are discriminating and slowing down growth in the sector,” he pointed out.
Further benefits from this expansion plan would include many and varied linkages to local businesses from initial planning and financing through to the construction phase with contractors and sub-contractors.
“We will continue with our support through the operations of the hotel with relationships with local suppliers, small-scale farmers, producers and service providers of all kinds,” Mr O’Donnell added.
And ZDA board chairman Luke Mbewe said the investment will support the purchase of land and/or buildings, plants, equipment, furniture, construction work and staff training, working capital, finance cost and other statutory fees.
The company has already identified suitable sites for the project, purchase contracts have been signed and the training programme for the workers was in progress. The hotel has since sourced some of the required capital for project implementation and completion as well as expansion works.
Mr Mutati added that the reforms of the Tourism and Hospitality Act has commenced and the business licence restructuring programme would make it easier for all investors to operate with significantly less red tape.