By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Gemcanton Investment Holdings says there is need to strengthen regulations in the emerald sector to enable mining companies paying taxes to government to survive the increasing black market dealings.
Speaking in an interview in Lufwanyama yesterday Gemcanton Investment Holdings Mines Manager Langson Mukuma said government should stiffen laws in the emerald sector to curb the black market dealers who are destroying business for most mining firms.
Mr Mukuma said government is losing a lot of revenue from the black markets dealers as they are selling the emeralds at a very cheap price without paying any taxes to government.
He said during the auctions Gemcanton and other mining firms have challenges to sell their products because they are competing with dealers who are selling their gemstones at cheaper price adding this reduces the begging power of Zambian mining companies.
He said the mining firm has lost several bids to the black market dealers because buyers always prefer purchasing gemstones from black market dealers hence killing businesses for big and small mines.
He said to get rid of the black market dealers in the emerald sector there is need for government to stiffen laws so that gemstone mining firms get back the bargaining power in the sector.
‘’We have lost a lot of bids due to the low bidding by these dealers. If government strengthens regulation in the sector, this will give us the bargaining power,’’ he said.
Mr Mukuma disclosed that most of the international dealers come to Zambia in the name of attending auctions only to acquire VISAs as that buy from the black market dealers where they don’t pay any taxes.
Mr Mukuma has since urged government to look in to the matter and resolve the challenges the sector is facing.
And Mr Mukuma says the announcement by government to introduce new taxes will drastically affect mining operations as most big mining companies will resort to laying off most of their workers.
Mr Mukuma said it sad to note that some big mining companies are already planning to downsize their work force due to high operational costs