Council of Churches in Zambia and twelve other Civil Society Organisations have called on government to remain resolute and firm on the new mining tax regime as they engage in dialogue with the mining companies.
In a statement issued by the CSOs who attended the Alternative Mining Indaba held in Cape Town, South Africa, the organizations observed that the arm-twisting tactics by mining companies in Zambia was aimed at pushing government to retract the recently introduced mineral royalties.
It was noted that the 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.
The CSOs have since commended government for revising and simplifying the mining tax regime by introducing the mineral royalty tax based regime and have called on all Zambians to rally behind and support government to implement the new tax measures.
The CSOs added that if properly balanced and well implemented, the new measure has great potential for increasing revenue that is needed for delivery of essential public services and the uplifting of people out of poverty and to reduce inequality.
According to the CSOs it is imperative that citizens support progressive intensions by the Government to finance development through enhanced domestic resource mobilisation and curbing illicit financial flows as pledged by leaders during the just ended AU heads of state summit in Ethiopia.
“There is need for the mining firms to be more transparent to form the basis of any engagement with government because without transparency, it is difficult for the country to trust and appreciate the intentions of the mining companies’, the CSOs said.
The CSOs since condemned the threats by mining companies to down size and lay off workers adding that these threats have been made by the mining companies over the last 3 years and it is now apparent that the mining companies will continue to issue these threats as long as leaders are not bold enough to put a stop to these threats that have the potential to cause anarchy in the country.
The CSO’s said the measures introduced by the government are not intended to stifle growth in the mining sector but to enable Zambia to justly obtain its fair share from its natural wealth.