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Osinbajo, Zambian President urge respect for investment protection pact




. Dangote commissions $400m plant in Zambia

WORRIED by the policy somersaults and lack of respect for sanctity of investment pacts, Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, alongside Zambian President have sued for protection of investors as part of measures to sustain foreign direct investment inflow.

According to the African leaders, respect for such laws remains stimulus for encouraging long-term investments in the continent.

The Vice president and President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of the Republic of Zambia, while speaking at the commissioning of the 1.5 million metric tonnes cement plant of Dangote in Masaiti, Ndola, Zambia, yesterday, advocated improved economic integration in the continent through investor protection legislations and rules.

The two leaders noted that Dangote’s choice of Zambia gives it an advantage in the regional market of COMESA and SADC free trade areas with a population of more than 400 million. Osinbajo said: “With 54 countries and well over a billion people, an economic bloc cooperating through enabling trade agreements, collaborative tariff regimes, multilateral trade concessions and agreements will open up the fastest economy in the world. “Intra-African trade is low at the moment; our strongest ties are with Europe, America and now Asia. We must challenge our policy intellectuals.

The rule of law, protection of the right to private property and respect for the sanctity of contract are institutional pillars of liberal democracies that today guarantee an environment where commerce, industry and professional practice can thrive and bring much needed jobs to millions of our people.

An excellent example is Zambia’s Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, which offer incentives and safeguard investments against any future changes in legislation. “This legislative device is forward looking and creative as it offers comfort and confidence especially to foreign businesses undertaking major investments”.

On his part, the Zambian President said: “Since the ground breaking ceremony by the fourth republican President of Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda.

What we are witnessing today is a clear demonstration of the confidence investors have in the Zambian economy. I am confident that the sustained economic growth has continued to score in the last ten years is a good sign that we are heading in the right direction “The investment promotion and protection agreement signed by the country between Dangote and the country since 2010 has been sustained.

I have no doubt that these new developments would make Masaiti District the new Obajana of Zambia. “The investment by Dangote would further gear the country’s infrastructural development.

The commissioning of a number of multi billion Kwacha projects has spurred domestic demand for cement. I am aware that this investment is the largest ever-major investment into Zambia by a Nigerian company with an investment outlay of $400 million translating to two billion Kwacha.

My sincere hope is that with this project operating at its full capacity, we will see related industries mushrooming around this plant for forward and backward linkages.

This investment is expected to create at least 1000 direct and 6000 indirect jobs for Zambians. To create linkages, I hereby direct the Masaiti District Council to reserve land around Dangote Cement plant for us to create related industrial clusters whose purpose will be solely dependent on this timely project.

As government, we are aware that for years now, our people have been subjected to high monopolistic pricing structure for cement. Today, I’m the happiest person to note that ever since the Dangote Cement Plant came onto the Zambian market, the price of cement has been gravitating towards the normal price.

This implies that the cost of construction is now becoming reasonable and affordable by majority of our people.” President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote explained the plant’s unveiling is part of the company’s ongoing pan African agenda to make the product accessible and affordable.

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