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State seeks more mineral benefits – Lungu

KABANDA CHULU & ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu says Government is putting in place policies to address the limited contribution of mining to national development so that citizens can receive meaningful benefits from the exploitation of mineral resources.
The President said his administration wants to move away from policies tailored to position mining as a mere revenue source of Government to that of having an industry that will create broad-based development.
Mr Lungu said this in a speech read for him by Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma during the official opening of the 5th Zambia International Mining and Energy Conference (ZIMEC) exhibition in Lusaka yesterday.
The event is themed: ‘Zambia’s mining and energy economy 50 years’.
“Contribution of mining to the development of this country has been limited and this has to change in the next 50 years since the focus of Government is to ensure that meaningful benefits trickle down to ordinary people,” President Lungu said.
He said the mining sector will have no excuse but to effectively contribute to the building of a much stronger and sustainable Zambian economy.
“As Government, we are providing a stable and predictable environment and fiscal regime that conforms to international best practices. We are also providing a conducive investment climate that will enhance private sector growth and enhancing necessary policies and regulations to promote effective participation of the Zambian people in the mining supply value chain in order to create wealth,” President Lungu said.
He said there is need to reflect on what can be done to avoid pitfalls experienced in the past 50 years of independence.
President Lungu said in addressing challenges that will ensure a sustainable and strong economy in the next 50 years, people should be mindful that mining is the mainstay of Zambia’s economy and any development in the sector reflects on the lives of people.
He said there have been calls for Zambia to benefit more from mineral resources since the resurgence of the industry after privatisation.
“There also have been concerns on the need for legal and regulatory reforms to improve business environment on one hand and increase benefits for people on the other hand, so we need to go beyond the reforms,” he said.
Earlier, Association of Zambian Mining and Exploration Companies president Geoffrey Mulenga urged Government to expedite enactment of the revised Mines and Minerals Development Act.
“This will ensure security of tenure since exploration takes time and we are happy that taxation issues have been resolved, otherwise some exploration works could have collapsed,” he said.



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