ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) in Zambia have called on Government to remain resolute on the new mining tax regime as the decision will positively impact the countryâ€™s economic growth.
In a statement yesterday, Zambia Centre for Trade Policy and Development (ZCTPD) executive director Isabel Mukelabai observed that if properly implemented, the tax regime has potential to increase revenue collection needed for delivery of essential public services and alleviating poverty.
The call follows an Alternative Mining Indaba held alongside the Africa Mining Indaba in South Africa.
CSOs that attended include Action Aid, Zambia Caritas, ZCTPD, Council of Churches in Zambia, the Catholic Diocese of Ndola, the Catholic Diocese of Solwezi and Diakonia Zambia.
Others were Green and Justice, Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Oxfam Zambia, Publish What You Pay, Zambia Joint Country Programme of Norwegian Church Aid, Danish Church Aid and Christian Alliance, and Zambia Tax Platform.
The CSOs note that misreporting by mining companies on basic data such as the final destination for Zambian minerals makes it difficult for the country to realise benefits from its natural resources.
â€œThe CSOs from Zambia [that] gathered at the Alternative Mining Indaba observe with great concern the arm-twisting tactics by mining companies in Zambia aimed at pushing Government to retract the recently introduced mineral royalties,â€ she said.
Ms Mukelabai said threats by mining companies to downsize and lay off staff have been made by the companies over the last three years.
â€œAs we continue to celebrate our golden jubilee, it is imperative that citizens support progressive intentions by Government to finance development through enhanced domestic resource mobilisation and curbing illicit financial flows as pledged by President Lungu during the just-ended African Union heads of state summit in Ethiopia,â€ she said.
Ms Mukelabai urged mining firms to be more transparent as this will form the basis of any engagement with Government.
She said without transparency, it is difficult for the country to trust and appreciate the intentions of the mining companies.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka