TIME and again, we read in the newspapers or listen to the news that mining company so and so has threatened to cut down their labour force owing to this or that reason.
To add salt to injury, we also hear some Zambian business organisations supporting the mining firms.
The latest such threat has been made on the basis of Government’s plans to abolish value added tax and replace it with sales tax (Zambia Daily Mail, December 21, 2018).
Firstly, why do mines have to be reactive and not proactive? Early this year, the Ministry of Finance, through its Tax Policy Unit, invited members of the public to submit proposals for input to the 2019 national budget.
Without any doubt the authorities at the mines saw the advertisement and
I believe they made necessary proposals. If what they proposed was not found to be favourable to the intentions of Government to maximise revenue collection, then be it! Government wants a bigger chunk of the budget to be mobilised locally.
Doubtlessly, one major source of the revenue is no other than the mines because the minerals which they extract are the mainstay of our economy. As the Bemba say, ‘Akamuti wikete, eko bominako imbwa’.
Secondly, we hold all our investors in very high esteem, but they should not always hold us to ransom.
As the Extractive Industries Transparency International (EITI) states, any country’s natural resources belong to all its citizens and, as such, the minerals which the Almighty God has blessed Zambia with are not ‘Umulembwe wa cipuba, uupwila muli tumfwe’.
We deserve to have a voice about our God-given resources.