Saturday, February 16, 2008

(DAILY MAIL) Machila counsels mine owners

Machila counsels mine owners

MINISTER of Lands, Bradford Machila, says the proposed mining tax regime is necessary and has advised the mining firms to reflect on the course of action they want to take. He said it should be recognised that at the time some investors acquired the mines, copper prices were pegged at 65 cents per pound and that the prices were now US$ 6 pounds per pound. Mr Machila was contributing to policy debate on estimates of revenue and expenditure on Wednesday night.

Some mine owners have rejected the proposed tax regime and threatened to take Government to court if the new measures are implemented. Mr Machila said some mining firms had been getting away with non-adherence to the mining agreements and that Government would have no option but to defend itself in the event that it was taken to court.

He said some mining firms had not fulfilled some of the requirements of the mining agreement, such as health, safety, environment and immigration. Mr Machila also said he took cognisant of the fact that the budget for his ministry had been reduced by K2 billion.

He, however, said this would not detract the ministry from contributing to the development of the country. Mr Machila was optimistic that the land policy would be considered by Cabinet and legislation taken to the House afterwards.

Chasefu MP, Chifumu Banda (FDD) was concerned that some investors were greedy and did not want to share the mineral wealth with Zambians.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Mike Mulongoti, said it was important for MPs to discuss the contents of the budget with their constituents instead of leaving the task to Minister of Finance and National Planning, Ng’andu Magande.

Kwacha MP Lombe Mulenga (PF) called for a constituency budget process so that MPs did not feel that their constituencies were neglected. Mr Mulenga called for equal distribution of wealth to all the constituencies.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs, Ronnie Shikapwasha has appealed to contestants in the Kanyama parliamentary by-elections to be peaceful.

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha, however, assured the contestants and the electorate that Police were in control of the situation in Kanyama.

Lt-Gen Shikapwasaha said participating political parties should be free to campaign because police were in full control of the situation in Kanyama.

He said law and order was a prerequisite for national development and that the budget enhanced the security of the country.

“We can safely say that our men and women in uniform can work with greater hope in all parts of the country. Even in the remotest parts of the Zambian borders, we can provide security.

There will be need to accommodate the officers and remunerate them well,” Lt-Gen Shikapwasha said.

He said voters should accept that there were many challenges, which needed to be addressed in Kanyama.

He also urged the Patriotic Front (Members of Parliament) who have boycotted the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) to reconsider their position and not to be afraid of the “Anaconda” because the future was theirs and it provided for good leadership.

But Speaker of the National Assembly, Amusaa Mwanamwambwa advised Lt0Gen Shikapwasha to withdraw the word “Anaconda,” and he obliged.

Lt-Gen Shikapwasha also said people should be happy that 71.4 per cent of the national budget would be financed locally.

He advised MPs to be proud of themselves and work with people in their constituencies to ensure that the funding could go up to 90 per cent.



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