Thursday, February 07, 2008
By Trevor Simumba
Thursday February 07, 2008 [03:00]
Your editorial on Monday 4th February, 2008 highlighted a number of issues.
First, I wish to point out that those so-called Development Agreements were negotiated in bad faith; to put it mildly they were corruptly obtained by some of the mining companies. Second, no agreement can take away the sovereign right of any country to legislate in the public interest and these taxes fall within that right. The only body with power to make laws is parliament.
Windfall taxes are by their very nature temporary to take advantage of price rises.
The British Labour government soon after taking power from the Conservatives in 1997 imposed such taxes and I quote from CNN money: “The UK government raised £5 billion in 1997 when it imposed windfall taxes on privatised utilities after judging them to have made excessive profits.”
So did the UK lose the trust of investors by doing this? I do not believe so. Did the privatised utilities sue? In fact, this should be a lesson to multinationals to be more sensitive to public opinion.
Let us not lose sleep over this and the government must remain steadfast on this issue and not fall prey to lies from the multinationals.
The days of just making excessive profits to the detriment of local development will no longer be tolerated in Zambia.
Our concern now must be to ensure the government uses these extra revenues for socio-economic development and infrastructure that will attract new investment in the mines. Worrying about investor sentiment is farfetched at a time of high metal prices. If any of the foreign multinational investors decide to contest these taxes or disinvest, I would say good riddance.
There are many capable Zambians and other mining companies ready to mine in Zambia and pay the required taxes.
I strongly believe it (introducing windfall tax) is the right thing to do for the continued peaceful environment because if we do not we will regret it when people begin to take the law in their hands as it has happened in other parts of Africa.
Economics is not just about ideology or set theories; it must be a living social and political science that takes into reality the situation on the ground.
By Mwenya M
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
It is sad that many residents of the capital city are faced with floods. While no one person is responsible for causing floods, we can still hold the government leaders accountable on their preparedness and response.
This clearly shows poor urban planning policy on the part of the government. Why should flood-related problems be annual events for Zambians? This is a preventable problem that would save us money and lives in the long run.
Some critics may say that most flood-hit areas are informal settlements hence not recognised by government; that’s a flawed response. All Zambians deserve better sanitation. Why then do politicians campaign in informal settlements; is the vote informal too?
It even makes it worse that the government only appropriated US$4 million to deal with the floods. That money would not have to be spent today had MMD government done its homework of fixing drainages in the first place. Political parties should not hold on to power when they are failing to deliver even simple social services to the general public. Not many Zambians have a chance to fly to dry places when Lusaka experiences floods.
By Evans C
Thursday February 07, 2008 [03:00]
It is true nowadays that qualifications alone cannot guarantee one a chance to get employed.
Everything is being done on a wako ni wako nepotism basis. Let’s not forget that as these favours are being dished out, a lot of money is changing hands.
These so-called facilitators of employment opportunities are being paid to recommend individuals for jobs they are not qualified for.
They are busy surrounding themselves with underperforming employees that they cannot even discipline for fear of antagonising the people who paid them to have their relatives employed. This explains why there is laxity and incompetence in most workplaces.
We continuously heap blame on the country’s leadership for failing to improve the livelihood of Zambians when the real culprits are out there unchallenged.
More money is being wasted by these greedy individuals than by the corrupt few in political circles. These thieves and traitors should be exposed and locked up.
All workplaces should be audited and employment patterns established. All those who are dubiously employed should be interrogated and booked.
We all know that times are hard for most of us, but integrity should be the number one priority for all of us. We should resist corruption no matter how tempting the circumstances may be.
It is time we started living within our means rather than tolerating activities that do not add value to our lives.
A wise person will always remember that times change and that no one is invincible; time will come for the law to flex its muscles. Be honest and live longer!.