THE impending loss of 20, 000 jobs in the mines should be prevented at all cost because many families would suffer if such a thing is allowed to happen, Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) has said.
MUZ president Nkole Chishimba said appropriate action should be taken to salvage jobs at risk in the mining firms.
“We hope that such a thing does not happen. We should not allow something which can be prevented to happen,” Mr Chishimba said.
He said in an interview yesterday that the US$600 million Value Added Tax (VAT) government owes the mines belongs to the mining firms and that Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) should pay it back.
Mr Chishimba said if the money was refunded, the mine owners would make sure that operations in the affected mines would continue normally.
“That money belongs to the mines and they have to refund it so that the operations continue. We don’t want the industry to be paralysed because colossal sums of money has not been refunded to the mines,” he said.
He said Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) alone is owed more than US$200 million.
But Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) chairperson Yusuf Dodia said there would be no jobs that would be lost in the mines even if 20, 000 jobs are threatened.
He said in an interview yesterday the mines were using the same gimmick Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) used last year when it threatened to terminate a huge number of jobs when government suspended Statutory Instrument no. 53.
Mr Dodia said mining firms wanted to use the same gimmick KCM used last year to pressurise government to give them VAT refunds.
He, however, acknowledged that the mines should be refunded VAT and advised government to come up with a proper modality of paying instead of paying the money all at once.
Mr Dodia said the government could decide to pay a certain amount of money every year until it was finished.
He said the VAT rule 18 was clear and should be complied with by the authorities.