PAN African Leather Limited has called on Government to consider imposing duty on safety
shoes and school shoes imported outside the continent to protect the leather industry.
The company, which is one of the only two surviving tanneries in the country, manufactures
leather and leather products.
Zamleather, which is a subsidiary of Zambeef Plc, is the other tannery operating in the
Pan African Leather Limited director Sultan Basha said the leather industry
continues to be hampered by cheap imports. Mr. Basha said as Zambia and the continent
look to integrate through regional treaties such as Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA) and continental treaties such as the African Continental Free Trade Area
(AfCFTA), the need to protect local industries cannot be over emphasized. “What we need is
a strong local market for leather products, especially safety and school shoes. We have the
potential because we have the raw materials but the challenge is that our market is dominated
by imported products. We need policies such as tariffs that will safeguard the industry,
incentives for local investors and skills development” he said. Mr. Basha said this on Wednesday, 28th October 2020 when a team from COMESA, Ministry of Commerce, Trade
and Industry and Zambia Leather Industries Association visited the company.
The European Union (EU) through COMESA adjustment Facility, has provided 5million
Euros project in Zambia to unlock the leather and cotton value chains and trade facilitation
under a project dubbed “Regional Integration Capacity Building Project”, which is being
implemented through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. The project has
resulted in about 280 people being trained in various leather-related skills. Mr. Basha said
the company, which has in the last two years invested about US$750,000 in machinery, raw
materials, chemicals and skills development is willing to inject an additional US$1 million to
develop a fully-fledged leather value chain.
The investment will also enable the company, which produces safety boots, school shoes,
slippers and belts, to manufacture other high- end leather products such as household
furniture to meet the increasing demand within the country and beyond. Mr. Basha said the
company’s products have continued to attract the regional market such as Botswana,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Pan African Leather Limited
processes 3,000 hides, 3,000 belts, 500 shoes and slippers per month.