Govt should monitor operations of the mines

The government should do a comprehensive report on the operations of the mines so that Zambians can know what they are benefiting from them, says Action Aid country director Pamela Chisanga.

And Ms Chisanga says there is no stability in Zambia’s economy following the depreciation of the currency and the rising prices of essential commodities.

She said it was worrying at the rate the economy was fluctuating, triggering inflationary pressure.

“People must be able to predict what is going to happen tomorrow or next year, but if things change overnight, it becomes very difficult to plan.

“We are going back to a situation where, in the 80s and 90s we would sit by the roadside selling mushrooms and you would ask them why the mushrooms are so expensive? They will tell you it is because of forex,” Ms Chisanga observed.

Ms Chisanga said it was worrying that there was no transparency in the operations of the mines.

“We want the government to do a very comprehensive review of the operations of KCM and put the report publicly as a result of that investigation so that Zambians can determine for themselves whether this particular operation is bringing the benefits to Zambians as interested parties,” Ms Chisanga said

She advised government to take the concerns that were being raised by different groups over mining taxation in Zambia seriously.

“We have not so far seen any serious attempts to deal with allegations that are leveled against some companies. As Action Aid we are baffled to say, why the government is seemingly paying a blind eye and deaf ear to some of these allegations that are being raised,” Ms Chisanga said.

She said there was need to investigate various concerns being raised by various organisations on mining taxation.

“They need to come out and tell Zambians what these organisations are saying is not true because we have investigated and this is what is obtaining, this is what is happening so that Zambians can be able to support these investments whole heartedly.

“One of the key things we must realize is that NGOs are not against private sector investment, not against foreign direct investment, but this investment needs to result in tangible benefits for the people of Zambia,” Ms Chisanga said.

“How transparent are these companies in terms of their transaction, because what we see  them putting out here in Zambia as their operational cost is not what they are portraying in their aggregated figures to their parent companies and so it raises a lot of questions,” Ms Chisanga said.

Ms Chisanga has also observed that there had been no concrete reaction from the government on the issue of KCM following the London protests.

“This is a company that seems to have a lot of challenges now and it’s been very difficult to follow what the position of government is on KCM and what measures they are taking to ensure that whatever is happening or not happening at KCM is put right,” Ms Chisanga said