President Lungu warns selfish mine investors

 President Lungu warns selfish mine investors

President Edgar Lungu says government will no longer tolerate mining investors that seek to reap from the country’s natural resources, leaving citizens with empty hands.

President Lungu has also warned that his administration will not entertain mining investors who cry foul each time government tries to earn something from the mines through new tax measures.

The head of state has noted with regret that the mining sector could have contributed more to the economy and created jobs for citizens.

President Lungu said Zambia has been exploited for far too long by some mining investors who at best have left shells were mines stood.

The President has since declared that time has come for Zambians to decide their own destiny saying the country will work with investors that have exhibited goodwill.

He said government will continue looking at the mining tax regime with a view to making it equitable.

President Lungu said this in Lusaka today when he launched the 2020 to 2023 Economic Recovery Programme aimed at attaining fiscal and debt sustainability among others.

The theme of the Economic Recovery Programme is ‘Restoring growth and safeguarding livelihoods through macroeconomic stability, economic diversification and debt sustainability.’

President Lungu said the Economic Recovery Programme is a successor to the Economic Stabilization and growth programme that covered the period 2017 to 2019.

The Programme has 5 objectives which include restoring macroeconomic stability, dismantling the backlog of domestic arrears, restoring growth, diversifying the economy and safeguarding social protection programmes.

President Lungu is confident the programme will enable the country to withstand external shocks through a diversified export base.

He said the Economic Recovery Programme identifies Agriculture, Manufacturing, tourism, and Mining supported by the energy sector as the anchor sectors.

And President Lungu called for the need to build on the potential of gold to build on the country’s strategic reserves.

The Head of State stated that the country MUST assume a significant stake in some selected mine assets.

He said this does not mean nationalization of mines as the private investors will be allowed to participate in the sector.

President Lungu further said Government will rump up social protection programmes throughout the implementation period of the Programme.

He said to achieve these objectives, there is need to reform the Farmer Input Support Programme to improve efficiency.

The President also called for debt management reforms to enhance transparency and increase parliament’s oversight in borrowing activities.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu described the Economic Recovery Programme as a national short- and medium-term development tool which will help the country’s economy to recover.

United Nations -UN- Resident Coordinator Coumba Mar Gadio said the UN remains committed to supporting Zambia’s economic recovery plan and the 8th National Development Plan which is currently under formulation.

And National Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme said the formulation of the plan was coordinated by his Ministry and the Ministry of Finance in wide consultation with various stakeholders.

The Independent Observer

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John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism