Editorial: Is our Government clueless on mining?

Editorial

There are threats of job cuts in the mining sector saying the recently introduced sales tax does not favour the mines.

So far Mopani Copper Mines and Kalumbila have both already made their intentions known to Government of the possible redundancy in the mining sector.

But is our Government clueless about the mining activities such that every time government makes a move that would benefit the citizens, the mine owners come up with threats of job cuts?
Why does government gets surprised when mining companies are laying off workers when government is a shareholder in almost all the major mining firms?

ZCCM-IH, which is the investment arm of government in the mining industry surely owes the public an explanation of the profits and loss for these mines if such calls are genuine.
The major roles of ZCCM-IH is auditing, investigating and offer advice as the board to these mines.

There is no way a member of the board can always be shocked with decisions made by the entity he has shares with.

At one time, former Mines Minister Wylbur Simuusa had said Government was working to improve its stake in the mines.

The faster ZCCM-IH thought of improving its shares in the mines, the better for Zambians because the mining arm of Government (ZCCM-IH) will demand for more powers in decision making in these mines.

Most of these mines mean no good and always want to find any available excuse to reduce labour.

Even when production costs shoots, the mines are quick to threaten government with job cuts, yet when they are doing fine and making profit, they remain mute.

ZCCM-IH, which has now invested in banking sector (Investrust bank) and manufacturing (cement) in Masaiti, appears to be making profits.

This is the right time to begin claiming and demanding for more shares so that it slots in personnel in key positions of these mines such as at finance, human resource among others.

Why can’t ZCCM-IH conduct explorations and open new mines to avoid what people are calling arm twisting of government by foreign investors.

We need to conduct mining exploration and at least open up a model mine for Zambians where we can be gaining experience and later begin taking over these mines through ZCCM-IH which can annually be increasing its shares till they hit 85%.

Zambia will not develop and benefit from the mineral resources if we can continue to be spectators in the mining industry.

As they say ‘you can’t score by being a spectator or on the bench,’ our government will continue with rhetoric complaints of arm twisting with no tangible fruits.

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