Legalise illegal mining businesses – consultant

A LOCAL mining firm, Cousins Mining and Consultancy, has implored Government to legalise all illegal mining companies to broaden its tax base.

Cousins Mining and Consultancy director Peter Mulenga said most Zambians were now working on the philosophy that if they could not find employment they should engage in any form of business to sustain themselves.

“Government should find space on how to legalise illegal miners because most illegal miners have gone into illegal mining to find ways of sustaining themselves and support their families.

“In order for the government to widened its tax base and also create a larger scale of getting revenue, let them (government) legalise those (miners) who are illegally mining so that government can then receive revenue, and those people pay tax,” Bishop Mulenga said.

He told the Daily Nation that the country had lost a lot of revenue by not legalizing illegal mining businesses.

Bishop Mulenga, however, said government had a chance to correct the situation by legalizing illegal miners and that Government should also allow illegal miners to sell their minerals to people with mining licences. He said when investors with mining licences export minerals, they pay mineral royalty and other taxes to the Government which would in the end benefit the ordinary people.

Bishop Mulenga said in other countries like Zimbabwe, illegal miners had been legalized, adding it would be good for Zambia to take the same action.

He recalled Zimbabwean authorities were initially arresting illegal miners but later rescinded its stance and instead encouraged them to sell their minerals to the reserve bank.

Bishop Mulenga said sine the Zambian government could not employ everyone, it would be prudent to encourage mining activities by legalizing illegal mining activities.

He said government should try to create a business environment that would promote the legalization of business activities.