Tenants salute pledge to review Luburma market


LUBURMA market executive committee has praised Government for promising to review the 65-year lease agreement the Lusaka City Council signed in 2002 with China Henan who built the Kamwala shopping complex in the second-class trading area.

Committee chairman Kabwe Phiombe told the Daily Nation yesterday that Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo had taken a bold decision to call for a review of the agreement because it did not benefit Zambians in any way as the period of time given to the company to realise its investment was too long.

Mr. Phiombe noted that it did not make any sense for the council to be wallowing in huge debts that it was owing to a number of institutions, including former employees through benefits, when it had a grand structure like the Kamwala market which was raking in huge sums of money every year for the Chinese investors.

He noted that time to rectify the mistakes that were made by those who were at the helm of signing the agreement through alleged corrupt practices needed to be rectified because Government was losing a lot of revenue through ‘‘such bogus agreements’’.

“That is a bold decision that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is taking and we thank them for that because we have cried for that over a long period of time. We know Hon. Kampyongo to be a man of his word and we are sure that this contentious issue will come to a conclusion once and for all,” Mr. Phiombe said.

He however called for concerted efforts in ensuring that the reversal was possible as successive ministers had made such promises before since the time the issue was raised some time in 2012 but without any conclusion.

“Our only appeal to the minister is that we want this issue to be concluded during his tenure of office and by so doing he will be helping the council and we the tenants who are being exploited by these Chinese who are subjecting us to exorbitant rentals,” he said.

Mr. Kampyongo told Parliament on Wednesday that Government intended to review the 65-year lease agreement the Lusaka City Council signed in 2002 with China Henan over the Kamwala market because there was discontent by the local people who are renting the facility.

He noted that while public-private partnerships (PPPs) were supposed to be mutually beneficial, it was clear that the Kamwala market case was not.

The committee also said the exorbitant rentals where not helping Zambians as the company had started quoting the fees in dollars on a non-negotiable basis.