NGOs challenge mines owners on job cuts

CIVIL society organisation (CSOs) say threats by mining companies to significantly cut jobs and downsize operations as direct result of the new taxation measures introduced by the Government are unfounded and unsubstantiated.

And CSOs have condemned the threats by mining companies to downsize and lay off staff.

According to statement issued by Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) communication officer Grace Zulu, CSOs have challenged the mining companies concerned to clearly demonstrate how the new mining tax regime would hurt their operations based on production and cost structures.

“These threats have been made by the companies over the last three years and it is now apparent that the mining companies will continue to issue these threats as long as our leaders are not bold enough to put a stop to these threats that have the potential to cause anarchy in our country,” Ms Zulu said.

She said that CSOs believed that the measures introduced by the Government were not intended to stifle growth in the mining sector but to enable Zambia to justly obtain its fair share from its natural wealth.

Ms Zulu said if mine owners were genuinely interested in a partnership that would result in a win-win- situation for both Zambians and the investors, they must comply with the law or otherwise demonstrate, with clear evidence, why this was not tenable.

“We believe that Zambia continues to maintain a favourable climate for foreign direct investment on the continent and provides the necessary support for growth and therefore multinational companies must not take this for granted and must realise that Zambians are now more aware and interested in the value and benefits of their natural resources,” she said.

The CSOs urged the Government to remain steadfast and not to change the current tax regime without a clear basis.

Ms Zulu added that the misreporting by mining companies on basic data such as the final destination for Zambian minerals made it difficult for the country to realise benefits from its natural resources.

“It is therefore commendable that Government has revised and simplified the mining tax regime by introducing the mineral royalty tax-based regime and we therefore call on all Zambians to rally behind and support Government to implement the new tax measures,” she said.

Ms Zulu said CSOs believed that if properly balanced and implemented, the new measure has great potential for increasing revenue that is needed for delivery of essential public services and the “uplifting of our people out of poverty and to reduce inequality”.

“We call on the mining firms to be more transparent and that this should form the basis of any engagement with Government because without transparency, it is difficult for the country to trust and appreciate the intentions of the mining companies,” she said.

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