Saturday, February 16, 2008

(TIMES) Unhappy mining firms told to seek audience with State

Unhappy mining firms told to seek audience with State
By Times Reporter

PRESIDENT Mwanawasa has invited mining companies opposed to the proposed tax regime to seek audience with Finance and National Development Minister N’gandu Magande and Mines Minister Kalombo Mwansa to show cause why the new taxes should not be effected. Dr Mwanawasa further said the mining firms should be prepared to explain to the Government why they were not happy with the proposed increase which was for the benefit of Zambians.

Dr Mwanawasa, who was answering questions from journalists shortly after arrival from Madagascar, maintained that Zambia’s mining taxes were still the lowest as compared to other countries whose taxes were between 40 and 53 per cent.

He said Government was just asking for a fair share of the resources to improve the lives of the ordinary Zambians and that he still could not understand the criticism.

“We are a listening Government, instead of them shouting on the hill I invite them to seek audience with the Finance and Mines ministers and they should be prepared.

“We are at 31 per cent, let the mining firms show that we are wrong when we say that our taxes are low. These people are coming from countries where taxes are high,” he said.

The President said he was sad that some Zambians were speaking on behalf of the mining companies opposed to the proposed taxes, saying that they should instead be fighting for the ordinary people who were still struggling to earn a living.

He said there were times when the Government had asked the mining firms to give Zambians top positions in the mines but they had refused, arguing that Zambians were not capable.

Dr Mwanawasa noted that it was sad that when it comes to fighting battles against increasing tax, the mines used Zambians.

He asked whether it was wrong to propose an increase to improve the living standards of people.

He said he was happy that the people who put him in power had welcomed the move by the Government to increase the tax and that his interest was for the people of Zambia who were more important.

On the continued power blackouts the country was facing, Dr Mwanawasa said he was hopeful that Zesco was working towards resolving the problem.

He said as South African Development Community (SADC) chairperson he had since called for a meeting with SADC ministers of Energy soon to discuss the power deficit in the region and find a way forward.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home