GOVERNEMENT must consider coming up with a law which will compel mines to fully support the communities other than their cooperate social responsibilities as it would result to poverty alleviation, Mine Union of Zambia (MUZ) secretary general Joseph Chewe has said.
Mr Chewe said Zambia still depended on the mining sector for poverty reduction because it created most employment in the country.
He was speaking when making submissions on high poverty levels in the face of sustained growth in Zambia to the economic affairs, energy and labour parliamentary committee.
“We need a policy that will compel mines to use part of their profit to benefit the communities other than their cooperate social responsibilities,
“The sector needs to be enhanced because Zambia still depends on it for poverty reduction, we should not just be interested in how much the mines are making but also how much the communities are benefiting,” he said.
Mr Chewe said poverty affected one’s way of living and had direct repercussions on one’s life and future.
He said a country like Zambia should be able to accumulate enough resources from the mining industry when it was at its peak.
Mr Chewe explained that those resources should then be redistributed to other industries so as to diversify the economy.
“The ability to accumulate wealth from the mining industry depends on the industry’s level of transparency and effectiveness of the tax regime,
“A country like Zambia should use resources from the mining sector when at its peak through investment, employment creation and the receipt of foreign exchange to finance imports and other foreign exchange obligations,” he said.
Mr Chewe said the mining sector had attracted investment in excess of US$8 billion since 2000 creating over 80,000 jobs by 2013 up from 27, 000 in 2000.
He said projects which created such jobs needed to be revised in view of unforeseen upheaval that had threatened the closure of mining on the Copperbelt.