Friday, December 07, 2007

Civil society advises govt on renegotiation of mining deals

Civil society advises govt on renegotiation of mining deals
By Kabanda Chulu
Friday December 07, 2007 [03:00]

Civil society organisations have urged the government to include the establishment of windfall taxes during the renegotiation process of the mining development agreements. Reading the communiqué after closing the mineral resources management in Southern Africa conference in Lusaka yesterday, Ndola Catholic Diocese father Misheck Kaunda said the current situation was inequitable, unacceptable and inconsistent with the principles of the Zambian constitution.

He said the renegotiation of the mining contracts must take into account, not only fiscal but also social, labour, environmental and developmental issues that have a negative impact on the welfare of the people.

“We urge the government to ensure the establishment of the windfall taxes during the negotiation process and the agreements must be renegotiated with the inclusiveness of concerns from local people, bearing in mind that there is wealth of knowledge and expertise among Zambians that can be utilised to enhance any negotiations in the interest of the people,” Fr Kaunda said.

“And when renegotiating these contracts, the government must ensure that new contracts support the Fifth National Development Plan, the Millennium Development Goals and the Vision 2030.”

He also urged the government to ensure that the process and outcome of all negotiations were transparent and accessible to the general public in order to enhance the confidence and trust of the people to whom the government owed the ultimate responsibility.

“So we demand that government proceed to act with integrity and without fear and favour in order to secure an equitable resolution that ensures the well being of the Zambian people, said Fr Kaunda.

The conference whose theme was “Mining Contracts Revision” was convened by Caritas Zambia, Catholic Relief Services and the Southern Africa Resource Watch and participants included representatives from the non-governmental organisations, universities and other interest groups.

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