Kitwe industrialist Osborn counsels retrenched miners

RETRENCHED miners should not sit back and mourn about their loss of employment  but should be pro-active and seek solace in other income-generating activities like agriculture, construction or manufacturing, Copperbelt Show Society chairman Bill Osborn has said.

Mr Osborn said individual retrenched miners needed to move forward and engage in some money-making ventures like agriculture as opposed to sitting back and seeking sympathy and charity from anywhere. He said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that it would not help retrenched miners to sit  complain and seek sympathy because it was inevitable that retrenchment would come because of the falling copper prices on the world market.

“Mining companies, not only in Zambia, even in other countries, had to retrench their work forces because of the falling copper prices at the world market. So after being retrenched, miners in Zambia should not continue mourning and seeking sympathy, but should be pro-active and find  means of survival.

“Yes, they have to be pro-active and seek other income-generating projects like agriculture, construction and possibly in the manufacturing industry.

‘‘They need to move forward and engage in money-making ventures like agriculture because crying about being retrenched will not help them. It is now a closed chapter and they just have to move on,” Mr Osborn said.

Mr Osborn said agriculture was one definite way to go by the retrenched miners because they would be able to contribute to the food security on the Copperbelt and turn the province into an agriculture showpiece.

He said the retrenchees should realize that there was a future beyond mining that had to be grasped to ensure survival and prosperity for their families.

He said Zambians needed to be entrepreneurial as they were many avenues available to use the skills and experience from their previous work places.

“There is no magic wand that can be waved to repair the current economic downturn. So one has to seek other solutions  in order to achieve sustainability. People should not only think that the Copperbelt will remain a mining area, it can even change and become an agricultural province if the people in the area change their mindset.

“The retrenchment of many miners in the mining industry could be the beginning of changing the Copperbelt into an agricultural area as long as people change their attitudes,” he said.

“If the retrenched miners can get together and pull their resources together, they can also go into the manufacturing sector.’’

Mr Osborn also said the Patriotic Front (PF) government should make  economic diversification a reality because in the past it had been talked about but yielded nothing

“Diversification is something which should have been done many years ago and has been talked about for such a long time without any positive action being taken, hence there is no cushion available when the price of copper depreciates dramatically and has such a negative effect on the exchange rate and employment.

“Job losses are all over because companies can’t cope with increased costs and therefore have to look at cutting those costs and sadly one of them is employment