KABANDA CHULU, Johannesburg, South Africa
THERE is no need for Zambia to continue signing secret and separate agreements to explore mining when the country has adequate laws to govern and regulate the industry, Tax Justice Network-Africa executive director Alvin Mosioma has said.
Mr Mosioma said Zambia and other mineral-rich countries should also demand the implementation of a public register of beneficial owners of the multinational mining companies.
He said most fiscal incentives that mining companies are given have several loopholes that benefit investors and not the host country and its people.
“Apart from fiscal and other incentives, these multinational corporations also sign secret agreements,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the just-ended third Africa Media Training Programme at the University of Witwatersrand.
For example, Zambia signed long-term secret development agreements after privatisation of the mines, and these included lower electricity tariffs, out-sourcing of contracts to foreigners, doing away with social community support, among other things.
“But why should a country have confidential agreements for mining yet other industries are subjected to the country’s laws? Actually, the secrecy surrounding the agreements is the beginning of illicit financial flows,” Mr Musoma said.
He said fighting corruption should be prioritised for African countries to get meaningful benefits from the natural resources.
“Illicit financial flows often, leave the country and are brought back through normal banking platforms, these funds are not carried in bags, and this shows the high levels of connivance among Government officials, investors, banks and many others.
“In fact, the money in off-shore or tax havens is not actually there but just booked on paper that money is in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands or Mauritius. In reality, these funds are on-shore, in the normal financial banking systems,” Mr Musoma said.