Saturday, February 09, 2008
By Times Reporter
GOVERNMENT has started repossessing all infrastructure from licence holders who have not utilised them to enable new investors to take over. The Government will implement this decision next month after giving the organisations a grace period for them to comply with the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act.
President Mwanawasa said this yesterday in a speech read for him by his Vice-President Rupiah Banda at the official opening of the African Mining Congress at Living stone’s Zambezi Sun Hotel.
Dr Mwanawasa said it was sad that many new investors could not access the vast landscape in Zambia because most of it has been taken up by mineral rights of one form or another, only for speculative purposes, rather than investment.
“Little or no work has been done on the tenements to permit partnership with other investors. Some holders of prospecting licences have outlived the legal limit and are denying other investors opportunities on the tenement,” Dr Mwaanawasa said.
He said because Zambia was implementing a policy of ‘use and leave it”, all tenements that had not been utilised by the licence holders would be repossessed by the Government.
The decision had been taken after an audit of all tenements found that many licence holders had not complied with the Act.
The licence holders had however, been given up to March 15, 2008 to comply.
“There are more than 380 gemstone mine owners and over 80 other small scale mining licence holders with accumulated unpaid area charges in excess of K10bn contrary to the law, “ the President said.
He said Government was determined to open up the Zambian landscape to investors hence, the cancellation whether the defaulters were holders of large scale or small mining rights before the new mining cadastre system opened to the public after March 31, 2008.
On the fiscal and regulatory policy changes on new mining investment in the sector, Dr Mwanawasa said the measures would not discriminate between owners of the old privatised mines and the new investors.
He stated that although some quarters had argued that new investors should be given exemptions from the fiscal and regulatory regime requirements because they had incurred debts to realise their investment, Government would treat all equally.
He said Government was aware that investors brought money into Zambia and was mindful that some owners of the old mines were investing in new projects largely by using money generated by the old mines.
He therefore encouraged the various mining companies at the congress to hold discussions and get into partnerships in the mining sector on how to enter into partnerships.
On the gas and petroleum sector, he said Government had received several enquiries from companies registered in UK, USA, Russia, China and South Africa wanting to invest in the sector.
He said Government was ready to give these companies an opportunity to invest in the petroleum sector because it would contribute largely to economic growth and strength.
He said analyses of samples collected from North-Western, Eastern and Western provinces strongly suggested the presence of oil and gas in the areas, which demanded that investors should quickly be given opportunities to invest in the promising regions.
And for this reason, Government would repeal the 1985 petroleum (exploration and production) Act to accommodate the changes to suit the current situation.
The conference is being attended by 30 mining companies from all over the world.
And speaking earlier, Meetings International Natural Resource Enterprise (MINE LLC) Chief Executive Officer Michelle Ashby said as the commodity markets continue to surge under world wide demand, Africa plays a key role in developing the required resources.
She said MINE LLC which hosts the Annual African Mining Congress organises investor meetings for natural resources, mining and modern energy industries adding that this year, over 30 mining companies are being featured at the on going congress.
Ms Ashby said the conference provides an ideal opportunity for mining companies to interact with a very targeted and interested group of investors by providing direct access to a number of interesting projects.
Friday, February 08, 2008
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
8 February 2008
Posted to the web 8 February 2008
GOVERNMENT will not renegotiate the Development Agreements (DAs) with the mining companies and that a new mining regulatory law will be proposed which will, among other things, remove the requirement to enter into DAs. Acting Secretary to the Treasury, James Mulungushi said section nine of the Minerals Act was being proposed for amendment by repeal and replacement.
Dr Mulungushi said this in Lusaka yesterday when he appeared before the expanded parliamentary committee on estimates at Parliament buildings chaired by Itezhi-Tezhi MP, Godfrey Beene.
He said the provisions and protection of the DAs would be in the relevant laws and regulations.
"The new mining regulatory regime will, therefore, do away with the requirement for Development Agreements," he said.
He said Parliament and the Zambian citizens should support the new measures and the stance taken by the Government not to renegotiate the DAs with the mining companies.
He said support was also required to put in place a mining law that would, among others, remove the requirement of DAs.
Attorney-General Mumba Malila said the mining firms should understand that the Government was doing this in good faith.
He said the Government at the time it entered into these DAs might have been in a state of desperation.
"We hope the mining companies will understand where we are coming from. We want to handle this amicably," he said.
Mr Malila said the DAs could not stop the Government from making a law and said all the good things in the DAs would be captured in the law.
He said in an event where the mining companies dragged the Government to court, Government was ready to proceed and defend its position.
He said the legislative committee looking into the new tax regime in the mining sector had completed the draft report, which would soon be presented to Parliament for enactment.
And Dr Mulungushi told the committee that additional revenues expected as a result of the new measures was U.S.$415 million and the estimates were based on a projection of $3.2 per pound and annual production of about 600,000 metric tonnes.
Dr Mulungushi said the Government proposed that the revenues to be raised be set aside in a special account, which would also act as some form of stabilisation fund.
He said this was necessary in order to avoid serious macro-economic implications such as damage to the non-copper export sector as a result of exchange rate appreciation.
"Additionally, setting aside the revenues in a special account will smoothen expenditure because mineral revenues tend to be more volatile and uncertain than other revenue types," he said.
Dr Mulungushi said the resources in the special account would be utilised in accordance with the normal transparent procedures in consultation with Parliament.
Dr Mulungushi said the special account would be a permanent feature in which all mining revenues should be deposited and the amounts to be utilised in the annual Budget would be determined and agreed with Parliament.
Earlier, Dr Mulungushi asked the committee if it could allow his team to sit in camera, taking into consideration that the matter to be discussed was sensitive, critical and highly technical.
But Mr Beene said the committee allowed the media to cover the sitting as the issue being discussed had already been brought to the attention of the public by President Mwanawasa in his address to the House and Finance and National Planning Minister, Ng'andu Magande in the Budget.
By KASUBA MULENGA
BRITAIN has endorsed Zambia’s new mining tax regime because it is aimed at enhancing equity in the distribution of mineral wealth between mining companies and the people of Zambia. A statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by the British High Commission and the Department for International Development says Britain supports Zambia’s move on the new mining regime.
“The UK Government supports the Government of Zambia in its objective of achieving a more equitable distribution of natural resource wealth, whilst at the same time ensuring Zambia remains an attractive destination for mining investment,” the statements reads.
The statement adds that the London-listed Vedanta Resources, which has the majority 51 per cent shares in Zambia’s largest mine, Konkola Copper Mines, was one of the several mining companies in Zambia but the only one registered in the United Kingdom.
“It is better for Zambia to ensure it has the right regime in place for the mining sector rather than rely on changes to legislation in each of the countries where the companies are registered,” the statement reads.
“This is why Britain is one of the cooperating partners that have helped Zambia with finances to get its independent technical and legal advice on renegotiating mining development agreements.”
Britain has also endorsed Government’s efforts and those of other cooperating partners to support the Environmental Council of Zambia in strengthening and enforcing the country’s environmental law and regulations.
President Mwanawasa announced on January 11, 2008, when he officially opened the second session of the 10th National Assembly that Government had decided to introduce a windfall tax on copper and raised mineral royalty to ensure Zambia’s maximum benefit from mineral resources.
In the last financial year, mining firms earned a whopping US$4 billion but paid just over US$150 million in taxes.
The proposed new mining tax regime, which takes effect on April 1, 2008, would earn Zambia an extra US$415 million in additional tax revenue.
Labels: WINDFALL TAX
By CHARLES MUSONDA
GOVERNMENT says former Zambia’s ambassador to Libya, Mbita Chitala’s criticism of African countries advocating a gradual approach to towards the establishment of an African Union (AU) Government was undiplomatic, ill informed, and mischievous. And Government says Zambia fully subscribes to the concept of the AU Government but wanted to achieve consensus not only among states but among its citizens as well.
In a statement in Lusaka yesterday, stating Zambia’s position on the AU, minister of Foreign Affairs, Kabinga Pande, said Mr Chitala’s utterances were not only his personal opinion, but were contrary to the terms and conditions of service for public service workers.
“In particular they were a breach of Foreign Service Regulations and Conditions of Service which regulate the conduct of officers in the Zambian Foreign Service,” Mr Pande said.
He said an ambassador is a personal representative of the President and what they uttered was always construed to have the blessings of the appointing authority.
He said Mr Chitala’s attack on African states that advocated a gradual approach and in particular the three countries he cited in his article obviously caused a dent on Zambia’s relations with those countries, which Zambia had to repair.
“The timing of the article could not have come at a worse time considering that Zambia had fielded a candidate for the post of Chairperson of the African Union Commission,” he aid.
The Zambian government respected freedom of speech of all its citizens and indeed all those that reside in its territory but public servants including Zambian diplomats who hold views contrary to Government’s position were at liberty and are encouraged to resign from the public service so that they can advance their views freely.
Zambia remained committed to, cherished the ideals of the AU, fully subscribed to the ethos of Pan-Africanism, and the ultimate establishment of the AU Government.
He said an erroneous impression had been created that Zambia did not have a position on the matter.
“Nothing can be further from the truth.
Zambia has a position,” he said.
Mr Pande said while the concept of the Union Government was generally accepted by all AU member states, it could not be categorically stated that it was fully understood by all.
He said Zambia subscribed to the gradual and incremental approach as opposed to the immediate establishment of Union Government but currently, there were no established structures or mechanisms for such an establishment.
“These have to be worked out and agreed upon by all.
Furthermore, Zambia holds the view that there is need to first attain political and especially economic regional integration,” he said.
The Union Government must be people-driven and there was absolute need for African governments to carry their people along in such an enterprise.
“Hence the need to fully consult them first as well as popularise the concept of the Union Government,” he said.
President Mwanawasa dropped Mr Chitala as Zambia’s ambassador to Libya over the article in which he criticised African governments opposed to immediate establishment of the Union Government.
The article was published as a comment in the Tripoli Post newspaper.
Mr Chitala singled out South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria as countries facing severe public criticism by their citizens for rejecting an outright formation of Union Government.
MrK - HIV/AIDS QuestionsHow could a contraceptive test positive for HIV/AIDS, when HIV/AIDS tests are 99% accurate (in the lingo, specific and sensitive)?
This is a very interesting question. There are many questions about HIV/AIDS that have never been addressed. Here are few of them:
- Why are different tests or combinations of tests used on different continents?
- Why is the same test, Western Blot, used as a confirmation test in the USA, but not in the UK?
- Why is the highly sensitive but less specific screening test, ELISA or EIA, used as both a screening test and a confirmation test in the UK, but only used as a screening test in the USA, where it is considered too sensitive for diagnosis?
- Why is Western Blot interpreted differently in pretty much every country it is used in?
However, to come to the substance of HIV testing:
- Why is there not a single test in use, that tests for the whole HIV virus?
- Why do the different tests, test for different parts of the virus?
As to the epidemiology of AIDS:
- Why do surveys based around testing pregnant women at antenatal clinics, give so much higher positive rates, than tests that use representative samples of the general population? Is it just that pregant women are younger and more sexually active, or is there something about pregnancy that causes false positive test results to occur much more frequently?
- Why did it take so long for UNAIDS, the UN's official AIDS watch dog and advocacy body, to give up on using these antenatal clinic surveys (ANCs), for representative surveys (called DHS or Demographic and Health Surveys)?
- Why was there so much resistance to doing so?
- Did UNAIDS have a vested interest in keeping estimates high?
To read a complete review of the revision of worldwide HIV/AIDS infection rates, specifically in Africa, see these articles from The Boston Globe (2004) and The Washington Post (2006).
This followed on the heels of similar DHS versus ANC results from Swaziland. The most remarkable downward revision of HIV prevalence in Africa came for Sierra Leone, which went from 7% to 1% (see chart in the Washinton Post article). Rwanda went from 11.21% in 2000 to 3% in 2005. Keep in mind, the only thing that changed, was the type of survey conducted (DHS instead of ANC), although there are plenty of organisations that stepped forward to claim credit (there was as brief scuffle between the 'abstinence only' and 'condom for all' crowds).
This should make anyone urgently question the seriousness of the data, how it is arrived at, and in fact the tests themselves. Although officials acknowledged how far off their predictions were, they still maintain that their projections for Southern Africa are correct. In fact, they now make Southern Africa the focal point of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Lastly, I question:
- Have population projections that take into account mortality from HIV/AIDS turned out correctly?
For that I can provide an answer: no. There is one country in Africa that we have correct population data from, even if it is only from 1998 onwards, and that is South Africa. Again, HIV/AIDS as a model to project population size has failed.
The US Census Bureau runs two models: one that takes into account mortality from HIV/AIDS, one that does not. Here are the date from both:
(Pop. of South Africa x 1 million)
With mortality from HIV/AIDS
Without mortality from HIV/AIDS
(Source: personal correspondence with the US Census Bureau, but the with aids number is available on their website - also note that on this website, they project South Africa's population to decline to 39 million by 2025).
Last year, Statistics South Africa did a community survey, and they put the mid-year population of South Africa in 2007 at 48.5 million.
Obviously, the 2007 population number from the actual community survey was a lot closer to the without HIV/AIDS model (49.28 million), than the with HIV/AIDS model (43.99 million) projected for the same year.
Not only that, but the with aids model shows a declining population, while both the without aids model and the household survey show a growing population.
This should raise serious doubts about the presence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, it's extent, and/or it's impact on mortality.
If HIV/AIDS prevalence in Sierra Leone can be downwardly revised from 7% of the population to 1% of the population, how much room is there for a downward revision in South Africa, where population growth puts a lie to the notion of a population declining because of widespread mortality from HIV/AIDS infection?
Friday February 08, 2008 [03:00]
It is always important for one to think or consider carefully before opening one’s mouth. It is impossible to have control of the words that have already been uttered. The only privilege we have is to think before we say anything. This is because words are like bullets; if they escape, one cannot retrieve them. Words can hurt, destroy or cause injury and they are not easily retracted.
Health minister Dr Brian Chituwo’s statement on Wednesday that ignorance, or lack of reading, among health workers and the public caused the recent panic among members of the public following information that Depo Provera, a contraceptive drug, was contaminated with an HIV virus.
This statement from Dr Chituwo is not only careless but also very dangerous because it has the potential to erode people’s confidence in our health care providers. To put it simply, Dr Chituwo is not inviting our people to have confidence in his health workers because they are not well-read and therefore can easily mislead and misinform the public.
While we agree with Dr Chituwo that the reading culture among our people, including professionals, is not as it should be, we think it is not correct for him to relate this problem of Depo Provera to the lack of reading. It is clear that Dr Chituwo doesn’t seem to have a clear-cut solution to present to Zambians on this matter.
How can Dr Chituwo accuse health workers of alarming the nation when it is him who held a press briefing to inform the nation that his ministry had withdrawn the Depo Provera following claims or suspicions that the drug was contaminated with HIV? Dr Chituwo said initial investigations revealed that the drug was testing positive to anti-bodies and that no HIV was detected although investigations would continue.
Now Dr Chituwo is saying if those ‘alarmist’ health workers had read human biology, they could have realised that HIV could not survive in a chemical like Depo Provera. If this is the case, why did Dr Chituwo tell the nation during his press briefing that investigations were continuing? Why did they have to send samples to South Africa when the well-read officials around Dr Chituwo knew very well that HIV could not survive in an environment like Depo Provera?
Let those who are charged with the responsibility of looking after the welfare, especially the health, of our people not take things for granted. Yes, we know that health workers are not educated in the same way.
There are those who are more educated than others. But we know that even those who are sufficiently educated in this field had some legitimate concerns and questions to raise about what was discovered in Depo Provera.
As Dr Chituwo would know better, the question was first raised by health institutions where the test was done first. Slowly and over some days, this information leaked into the public domain. The information was captured by the private sector that also tested Depo Provera and even the polio vaccine, which also tested positive for HIV.
What this implies to a medical practitioner is that there could be in the Depo Provera and polio vaccine, particularly in the batches obtained from the Ministry of Health donated by USAID, a substance, which is closely related to the proteins that are produced by an individual who is infected with HIV.
The question that should be answered by Dr Chituwo is: what could this substance be? Medical professionals could just read as much; they have no resources or capacity to investigate. Maybe that is why Dr Chituwo sent those samples to South Africa at great cost.
And why, of all medical products, should the Depo Provera and polio vaccine test positive? We have to realise that these drugs are widely used because they are free. We are reliably informed that the specificity and sensitivity of the HIV test kits are usually over 99 per cent.
This means they are very sensitive. So whatever tests positive should be 99 per cent related to the actual proteins produced when one is infected with HIV virus.
The question is; could the Depo Provera samples contain such a substance?
Would Dr Chituwo be in the position to confirm to the medical fraternity what this substance could be? Wouldn’t it be remotely possible that these samples could be containing a ‘vaccine’ to HIV without the knowledge of our people? What would be Dr Chituwo’s comments on the polio vaccine questions or is he waiting for the media to alarm the nation? Can Dr Chituwo assure the women that have received this Depo Provera in the past donated by USAID that they would not test positive to HIV even when they are not infected with HIV?
It is said that there is no smoke without fire, so there is every need to get to the bottom of this issue before we endanger the lives of our people. We need to strengthen our regulatory bodies to ensure that whatever comes into our country is good enough for the consumption of our people.
If Dr Chituwo thinks that the medical practitioners were just alarming the nation, why is the Depo Provera still off the shelves of our health centres, especially the public ones? If he is sure that Depo Provera has no contamination, why hasn’t Dr Chituwo announced that our women should feel free to continue using the drug?
Why withdraw the drug if it is safe? If Dr Chituwo is 100 per cent sure that there is nothing wrong with Depo Provera, we challenge him to withdraw all those circulars he issued to our health institutions stopping the use of this drug and announce today that our women should feel free to use Depo Provera.
There is need to be sincere about issues. We do not think that whoever discovered that Depo Provera was testing positive to an HIV test meant to alarm the nation. We think that everyone was genuinely apprehensive and legitimately sought to establish the correct position on this matter in the interest of good health.
If mistakes were made, let them be sincerely acknowledged instead of pouring scorn and ridicule on our health workers.
If these workers are ignorant as Dr Chituwo suggests, we will hasten to note that the well-read Dr Chituwo himself must be the biggest culprit for sending samples to South Africa for investigations when he knew very well that HIV cannot survive in an environment like that of Depo Provera.
Instead of politicising the matter, Dr Chituwo should show leadership and calmly allay the fears of our people about Depo Provera and polio vaccines. If indeed Depo Provera has no HIV and if this is properly explained, no one will argue with Dr Chituwo or any of his officials.
But if he chooses to be clever and unjustifiably sarcastic, he will just be making his job more difficult for himself. Dr Chituwo should always remember that words are like bullets. So let him speak with care. Arrogance will not do him any good.
By Mwila Chansa
Friday February 08, 2008 [03:00]
Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) president Dr Swebby Macha has said the panic that arose from the controversy surrounding Depo Provera was caused by the Ministry of Health’s failure to convince the public that the contraceptive had no HIV. And Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) president Thom Yung’ana said there was need to consider the root cause of the panic before blaming it on Zambians’ reading culture.
Commenting on health minister Dr Brian Chituwo’s statement that the controversy surrounding Depo Provera could not have arisen if health practitioners and Zambians in general had a good reading culture, Dr Macha said it was not the ordinary Zambians or the health practitioners that started the panic.
“It was the Ministry of Health that acted on reports by a laboratory technician who tested for HIV on Depo, we really don’t know what prompted the technician to do the test,” Dr Macha said.
He said at their first press briefing on Depo Provera, the Ministry of Health should have assured Zambians that the contraceptive had no HIV and that if this was done, no panic would have arisen.
Dr Macha added that now that the drug was found to be HIV free, the ministry should focus its energies on sensitizing and convincing the public that the contraceptive was safe.
“The first cut is the deepest and as an association together with the ministry, our efforts should now aim at educating the public that Depo is HIV free,” said Dr Macha.
He also said assertions suggesting that medical practitioners and Zambians in particular had a bad reading culture were ‘blanket’ statements because there had not been a study to determine that this was true.
And Yung’ana said even though the reading culture in Zambia was not good, it could not be linked to the controversy on Depo Provera.
“Who created the information that led to the panic? Is it the health workers or the users of the drug? It is only when we establish this that we can say they didn’t read or understand the issue,” said Yung’ana.
On Wednesday, health minister Dr Brian Chituwo said there would not have been panic over Depo if Zambians in general and medical personnel in particular read widely because a study of human biology would reveal that HIV could not survive in a chemical like Depo Provera.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday February 08, 2008 [03:00]
The Auditor General’s report has revealed numerous financial irregularities at 17 foreign missions with the Moscow embassy having over K1 billion unaccounted for. According to the report for the financial year ended December, 31, 2006, the Zambian embassy in Moscow, Russia had not accounted for over K1 billion and had irregularly paid K14.6 million for graduation parties for government sponsored students.
“A cash count carried out on 29th June 2007, revealed a cash shortage of K15, 407, 800. Further enquiries revealed that the money had been irregularly paid to the children of a senior government official who were stranded in Russia.
As of July 2007, the money had not been reimbursed,” the report revealed. “Contrary to financial regulation number 96, imprest in amounts totaling K25, 371, 100 issued to various officers had not been retired as of July 2007.”
The report revealed that a former deputy high commissioner in Namibia was paid allowances twice for the same period.
“It was observed that the former deputy high commissioner was paid her full January 2006 representation, cost of living, entertainment and telephone allowances of K17, 286, 625 on cheque number 102647 dated 18th January 2006, and another payment covering the same period but starting from 19th January 2006 to 3rd February 2006 on cheque number 102690 dated 2nd February 2006 for an amount of K9, 957, 137,” the report revealed.
“Outstanding bills: A total of K110, 500, 000 was released to the mission for the settlement of outstanding bills which stood at K157, 534, 189 as at December 2005. It was observed that despite the funding of K110, 500, 000 for settlement of outstanding bills, the figure had increased to K333, 710, 876 as of December 2006.”
The report also stated that contrary to foreign service regulations and conditions of service, the London mission in United Kingdom paid the high commissioner and the first secretary in charge of protocol about K72.5 million as airtime allowance.
“It was however observed that the high commissioner was paid K40, 985, 095 in excess of his entitlement while the first secretary protocol, who was not entitled was paid K27, 189, 146 during the period under review,” the report disclosed. “Contrary to the terms and conditions of service which stipulate that an officer shall not obtain an advance while one is running, five officers were paid subsequent advances in amounts totaling K527, 633, 043 while the previous advances were still outstanding.”
The report also revealed that about K47.8 million issued as imprest to various officers at the embassy in Beijing had not been retired as of July 2007.
It revealed that about K6.6 million paid as salary advance to the ambassador in October 2005 had not been recovered as of July 2007.
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the report revealed that imprest totaling K29 million issued to four officers during the period 1997 to 2004 had not been retired as of September 2007.
The report also disclosed that about K12 million paid as salary advance to officers had not been recovered by September 2007.
The Zambian embassy in Cairo, Egypt had not recovered K53 million from five officers who had collected salary advances.
Other foreign missions mentioned in the Auditor General’s report are Lubumbashi and Kinshasa (DRC), Lilongwe (Malawi), Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania), Gaborone (Botswana), Maputo (Mozambique), Stockholm, Luanda (Angola), Harare (Zimbabwe), Pretoria (South Africa) and Tripoli (Libya)
Meanwhile, the report revealed that a former deputy minister had not repaid K8.6 million for the home appliances he received but were bought by government.
“Imprest in amounts totaling K615, 568, 011 involving 115 transactions had not been retired as of March 2007,” the report revealed. “An amount totaling K5 million paid to an officer in December 2005 had not been recovered as of August 2007 and the officer had since been dismissed from the civil service and his terminal benefits were paid in full.”
By Maluba Jere
Friday February 08, 2008 [03:00]
Defence minister George Mpombo yesterday said that the defence forces have been put on full alert to promptly respond to all flood situations countrywide. Speaking when he toured Kanyama Clinic which has been flooded, Mpombo also said the government’s visit to flooded areas and distribution of aid to affected people should not be seen as campaign strategy. He said the government had a moral obligation to offer humanitarian services to the people.
“We are here to see the situation obtaining on the ground and this has nothing to do with elections,” he said. “We want to assure you that the government is committed to improving your lives and also show you that we’ve not abandoned you.
It is difficult to determine the weather and so the assistance we are offering is just humanitarian.”
Mpombo who was accompanied by Lusaka Province minister Lameck Mangani and officers from his ministry assured the residents that the government was consolidating efforts to find a long-term solution to the problem.
“I want to assure you that ZAF, Zambia Army and ZNS are ready to assist in any way,” Mpombo said.
“We have been doing a lot of aerial view to determine how much damage has been caused by the floods and the air force is ready to ferry food to wherever it may be required,” he said.
And sister-in-charge at Kanyama Clinic, Bertha Kaluba, appealed for mosquito nets for distribution to pregnant women and under-five children as there was a lot of stagnant water which lead to mosquitoes breeding more.
Mpombo also toured New Kanyama Basic School before proceeding to Misisi Compound where drainages were being unblocked.
Head teacher at Kanyama Basic School Billy Subakanya said the school might reopen to examination classes only by next week.
Subakanya said the school could not open to all the classes as it was still flooded and teachers were still occupying the classrooms.
By Mulimbi Mulaliki
Friday February 08, 2008 [03:00]
North Western Province Permanent Secretary Jeston Mulando has asked heads of government departments to utilise budgeted-for funds rationally and efficiently. And North Western Water and Sewerage Company is owed over K900 million in unpaid water bills. Opening the Provincial Development Coordinating Committee (PDCC) in Solwezi, Mulando observed that the monitoring committee of all capital projects in the province was weak.
“I want to direct that the committee must carryout regular monitoring of all capital projects in order to have updated information on the progress of project implementation,” Mulando said.
Mulando said the tentative provincial budget estimates authorised was K25 billion.
He noted that some programmes budgeted for this year were carried from last year.
And in a report to PDCC, North Western Water and Sewerage Company stated that the water supply situation in the province continued to improve from an average of 20 hours in March 2007 to 21 hours per day in December 2007.
The report also disclosed that due to the debt amounting to over K900 million it was owed, the company faced major challenges in meeting operation needs, maintenance and investment costs using internally generated funds.
By KASUBA MULENGA
SOME opposition members of Parliament (MPs) have welcomed the introduction of the windfall tax on copper mines but have urged Government to find alternative revenue measures in case of a disagreement over the new revenue regime. Nchanga MP, Wilbur Simuusa (PF), alleged on Tuesday that some mining companies had already started showing signs of resentment as they wondered what would happen to the mining agreements they signed with Government about six years ago. He was contributing to the motion on estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2008.
“If the mining companies refuse the new tax measures, do we have plan B? Let us save ourselves from embarrassment by finding alternative means of revenue,” Mr Simuusa said.
He urged Government to urgently find a solution to revenue problems which might arise from the mines before the country was embarrassed.
Luena MP, Charles Milupi (Independent), said although members of the House welcomed President Mwanawasa’s announcement about the introduction of the windfall tax on copper when he officially opened Parliament, they needed to see the figures, like the projected US$415 million income, in this year’s budget.
Matero MP, Faustina Sinyangwe (PF), said government should be careful when re-negotiating agreements with foreign investors in the mining industry.
“When negotiating with would-be investors, Government should do so with the heart to ensure that mineral royalties trickle down to the people,” she said.
Mrs Sinyangwe said mines should build schools, clinics and other social amenities like the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, used to do.
Meanwhile, Mr Simuusa said the country needed a realistic and radical approach to attain the goals outlined in the Vision 2030.
When President Mwanawasa launched the Fifth National Development Plan and the Vision 2030, he said there was need to revamp the country’s industry and technology to attain meaningful development.
“What the President said were good plans. What they need is better implementation,” Mr Simuusa said.
And Mr Simuusa backed other members of the House in calling for an increase in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Earlier, Mfuwe MP, Mwimba Malama (PF), said CDF should be increased to K2 billion for rural constituencies and K3 billion for urban ones from the current K200 million for the country to attain meaningful development.
Mr Malama said an increase in CDF budgetary allocation would also reduce on regional and tribal finger pointing, as development would be moving at almost the same level.
And Mr Milupi said Government needed to go to rural areas to exploit natural resources like minerals and oil if this year’s budget theme “Unlocking Resources for Economic Development” was to be realised.
Mr Milupi said it was unfortunate that rural farmers had lost their capacity to grow crops because of adverse factors like the poor distribution of the Fertiliser Support Programme.
He said rural farmers also needed equipment to enhance crop production.
By HAGGAI CHILABI
ZESCO Limited has opened the spillway gates at Itezhi-Tezhi dam to stop flooding waters from cracking walls of one of the country’s key power generation points, senior manager for marketing and public relations, Monica Chisela said yesterday.
Ms Chisela said an assessment by Zesco hydrology experts had shown that the opening of the spillway gates of the dam have not, however, affected people along the Kafue River because they were warned to vacate in good time.
“However, it was assessed that flooding due to opening of the spillway gates at Itezhi-Tezhi has not reached further downstream of the Kafue Flats yet.
The flooding in most areas of the Kafue Flats is as a result of discharge from the local streams and direct rainfall,” Ms Chisela said.
“A few people (are) still staying in the flooded areas. It is hoped that with the recent warning these people will move to higher ground,” Ms Chisela added.
Ms Chisela said experts noticed that most houses were surrounded by water from rainfall around the Mazabuka area, where roads and other infrastructure have been damaged by floods.
She said most of the flooding in the Kafue Flats was mainly due to heavy rainfall and discharge from streams.
Ms Chisela said a Zseco team assessing the impact of floods also noticed that cattle was losing its hooves in areas around Itezhi-Tezhi dam because of
flooding while some maize fields along the Kafue River banks were under water.
She said Zesco had distributed leaflets to people warning them of the impending opening of the spillway gates and that most people on the banks of the river heeded to???? the advice and left.
Ms Chisela said some animals in the Kafue National Park had moved to higher ground.
The Zambezi River Authority has separately announced that it will open the Kariba Dam spillway gates on Monday to save walls of one of the world’s largest dams from cracking because of swelling waters from Lake Kariba, which is fed by the Zambezi River.
The Government last week said it would launch a campaign to advise people living on riverbanks in the Lower Zambezi and Luangwa River to leave their homes as floods were expected to swamp their homes.
Meanwhile, KANGWA MULENGA reports that Zesco Limited will carry out an independent technical audit of the company infrastructure to identify possible sources of system failures on the national system.
Zesco board chairman, Wamundila Muliokela, said in a statement yesterday that the audit would be independent of management and would also provide a basis for the board of directors to monitor the maintenance of infrastructure to avoid a re-occurrence of the recent power outages.
“The board is committed to be responsible to our customers needs and expectations as we are aware of the fact that collectively Zambians are the ultimate shareholders of this strategic company,” he said.
He appealed to Zesco management and to customers to participate in energy efficiency management programmes.
The board has since expanded the scope of one of the board committees to specifically oversee customer service delivery.
Among the priorities the board would deal with include taking corrective actions on issues affecting Zesco, giving the importance of energy to all sectors of the economy.
He also called for support and understanding from all stakeholders and the general public during the challenging period the company was going through.
“As we implement our strategic intent the support of management and the entire staff of Zesco cannot be overemphasised the support during this period will be most appreciated,” he said.
He said the current power outages were due to power deficits and the ongoing rehabilitation programme.
“The board will ensure that the power rehabilitation programme is accelerated and completed as quickly as possible,” he said.
By Times Reporter
THE report from the office of the Auditor-General has revealed that irregularities in the management of public funds had continued with the worst being that of misapplication of funds to the tune of K42,885,707,241 billion. Auditor-General’s office public relations officer, Ellen Chikale, said in a statement that the audit report for the financial year ended December 31, 2006 was out and revealed that irregularities in the management of public funds had continued with the worst being the misapplication of K42,885,707,241.
The report also revealed that K22,053,976,602 was unaccounted for while other irregularities included unretired imprest of K18,585,086,881, unaccounted for stores of K14,992,700,535, unsupported payments of K12,647,491,376, delayed banking of K3,976,260,363, over-payments of K1,756,258,571 and misappropriation of K85,714,710.
The report also revealed unconstitutional expenditure of K8, 642,049, 204 in respect of 23 heads of expenditure which would have required approval by Parliament as provided for under article 117(5) of the Republican Constitution.
Ms Chikale said the report, which was presented to Parliament on February 5, 2008 was submitted to the President on December 31, 2007.
“This years report has revealed that irregularities in the management of public funds have continued with the worst irregularity being that of misapplication of funds to the tune of K42,885,707,241,” read the statement.
Ms Chikale said as for the revenue component, the financial year under review revealed that there was a net deficit in the actual revenue collected (K6,990,018,969,806) against the estimated amount of K8,200,555,356,347 by K1,210,536,386,541.
She said revenue collection comprised tax and non-revenue. Tax revenue was revenue from taxes such as income, mineral royalties, customs and excise and value added tax among others. Non-tax revenue was revenue from fees and fines such as traffic collections and ground rent.
Ms Chikale said some irregularities in the collection and accounting for revenue in the audit report included tax arrears of K2.9 billion, tax refer-to-drawer cheques of K2.5 billion and unaccounted for non-tax revenue of K4.5 billion.
She said out of the tax arrears of K2.9 billion, a sample of K1.7 billion was picked for circularisation and that 97 per cent of the amount was disputed by institutions said to be owing the Zambia Revenue Authority.
By NKOLE CHITALA
ECONOMIC consultant, Bob Sichinga, says mining companies must contribute a lot more than the anticipated K1,660 billion (US$415 million) indicated in the national budget. Mr Sichinga noted that the estimated income from the mining sector fell far short against a turnover estimated at K18,800 billion. He said tax contribution from the source would represent a paltry 9.6 per cent effective tax rate.
“Mining companies must contribute a lot more than indicated in the budget measures at US$415 million equivalent to K1,660 billion. The estimated income still falls far short against a turnover estimated at K18,800 billion,” he said.
Mr Sichinga was speaking during the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) post 2008 National Budget Tax Review workshop in Lusaka recently.
Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) commissioner-general, Chriticles Mwansa reiterated that it expects to collect US$415million from the mining sector this year.
“This money is what would be earned from the new tax system, we have been collecting tax from the mines, but we are expected to collect US$415 million from the measures that were announced,” Mr Mwansa said.
He also said that small-scale miners were not left out in the new tax system.
He said he was certain that with small-scale mining companies making concentrates, this would result into positive effect to the national economy.
Mr Mwansa said the organisation was also working closely with the registrar of companies, National Authority Pension Scheme Authority and local councils on capturing information on companies and individuals that should pay tax.
Zambia Chamber of Commerce Trade and Industry (ZACCI) commended Government at the workshop for allowing mortgage interest to be deductable for tax purposes saying the move would encourage home ownership.
Chief executive officer, Justin Chisulo, said ZACCI welcomed the positive measures on percentage on savings and Withholding Tax, trailers, export levies, books, infant formula, reduction in value added tax rate, Pay As You Earn, domestic and external debt payments and import cover of 3.6 months.
Meanwhile the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) expressed disappointment over national budget.
The association said most of the budget proposals submitted to Ministry of Finance and National Planning were not considered.
ZAM president, Dev Babbar said there was need for Government to reduce the cost of production and doing business in the country.
Mr Babbar cited the proposal on duty reduction on raw materials, forestry equipment, shoe manufacturing materials, paints, among others as some of the submissions that were not considered.
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!.
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Joan Chirwa
Thursday February 07, 2008 [03:00]
MINING companies cannot resist the new fiscal regime because doing so will be against the laws of Zambia, former Public Accounts Committee chairperson Bob Sichinga has said. And the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has said low taxes were only a small part of the huge challenges facing the mining sector in Zambia.
Sichinga said the Zambian constitution mandated the reigning Minister of Finance to impose a tax regime without consulting the affected party.
He was commenting on finance minister Ng'andu Magande's statement on Monday that there would be no room for mining companies to negotiate with government the new mining fiscal regime.
Sichinga, who is also former Kafue member of parliament, said it was unjustified for mining companies in the country not to accept the new tax regime as they had made 'enough money for a long time at the expense of the Zambian people'.
He said before the year 2000, Zambia had a very competitive tax regime in the mining sector but that the Bretonwood institutions forced the government to change the law at the height of the privatisation of key mines.
Sichinga said the decision to impose a new mine tax regime would help to reverse the earlier 'error' that government made by reducing taxes for mining companies.
"What the minister (Magande) has done is the right thing and I would like to commend him for that bold decision. Article 114 mandates the Minister of Finance to impose any tax regime without consulting the affected parties, so what negotiations are the mining companies asking for and why those negotiations anyway," said Sichinga.
And in its 2008 budget analysis, JCTR stated that the revision of the mining tax regime was a progressive step in ensuring that corporate institutions start making higher contributions to the revenue side of the budget.
JCTR however noted that the government needed to address other challenges such as illegal mining, casualisation of labour and inadequate regulation in the mining sector, as taxes were only a small component of the current problems.
"It will also be prudent for the government to remain alive to the fact that low taxes were only a small part of the huge challenges facing the mining sector. As summarised by Fraser and Lungu in 2006, these challenges include inadequate regulation, illegal operations, impunity, casualisation of the workforce, deepening pensioner poverty, lack of linkages to local business and failure to protect the social infrastructure," JCTR stated.
"We hope that the additional US $415 million to be generated from taxes on mining firms would be spread across social and economic sectors to improve service delivery and increase capital investments necessary for integral human development."
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thursday February 07, 2008 [03:00]
ERB has started a study on the decentralisation of fuel storage as a means of reducing fuel prices in various parts of the country, public relations officer Kwali Mfuni has said. Commenting on suggestions by Small Scale Industries Association of Zambia (SSIAZ) that Energy Regulation Board (ERB) should not allow fuel coming into tankers from Tanzania to go to Ndola as that was distorting the fuel price in the country, Mfuni stated that talks were still going on and had not yet been concluded.
Mfuni did not however state when the study would be completed.
“There are on-going talks and studies on decentralisation of fuel storage as a means of reducing fuel prices in various parts of the country, which are yet to be concluded,” Mfuni stated in response to a press query.
SSIAZ treasurer Paul Chileshe recently said in an interview that ERB should allow fuel meant for Northern Province to go straight to Kasama where they were former BP tanks which could hold over one million litres of fuel.
Chileshe said that way, fuel would be cheaper in Northern Province relative to other regions of the country that were nearer to Ndola and Lusaka.
Mfuni said in theory this made sense as transport costs would be reduced for the province since Kasama, rather than Ndola would be used as the basis for determining the fuel price.
“However for this to work the tanks would have to be extensively rehabilitated to required standards. In addition the depot in question belongs to BP, who can indicate why the storage tanks are not being used. The ERB is a regulator and does not engage in micro-management of licenses,” Mfuni stated. She also stated that the option to use tanks in Kasama would only work if they were used to stockpile refined petroleum products, rather than crude as there was no refinery in Kasama.
“Storage facilities, including government depots are available in various parts of the country, which after rehabilitation could be used for this purpose,” observed Mfuni.
Thursday February 07, 2008 [03:00]
If UNIP does not move quickly to sort out its leadership crisis, it runs the risk of being extinct. The problems UNIP is facing today are not necessarily as a result of its membership, it’s because of its poor leadership. It is the party leadership that has failed and not its membership. Of course leaders lead, but in the end the membership determine the future of the party.
There is a lot of work UNIP needs to do to bounce back to power, to see a reversal of fortunes. They should win the next elections not because the MMD are despised, but because UNIP is understood, supported and trusted. But who understands UNIP today to be able to support and trust it?
There is still a lot of time for UNIP to reorganise and make itself understood, trusted and supported. If they do this, they can win the next elections. But there is no choice between being principled and unelectable; and electable and unprincipled. Nobody should torture oneself with this foolishness any longer. UNIP should only win the next elections because of what the party believes in.
The task of renewing UNIP is certainly not one for the faint hearted, or the weary, or cynical. It is not a task for those afraid of hard choices, for those with complacent views, or those seeking a comfortable life.
At the next elections in 2011, the Zambian voters would have had the MMD in power for 20 years. They may hate them, but they know them. UNIP would have been out of power for 20 years and most of the people who knew it may not be there.
In 2011 people who were 10 or 15 years old when the MMD came to power, and UNIP moved out of government, would be 30 or 35 years old. It is the duty of UNIP to make these people know it now because they hardly know this party, its identity and its character as a party. And change is an important part of that.
UNIP has changed. The UNIP of today is certainly not the UNIP of 1991, the UNIP of Kenneth Kaunda. They have the right to change because parties that do not change die. And UNIP should be a living movement and not an historical monument. If Zambia changes, if the world changes, and UNIP doesn’t change, then it will be of no use to the country. Its principles will cease to be principles and will just ossify into dogma.
But UNIP shouldn’t change to forget its principles. It should instead change to fulfill its principles. It should change not to lose its identity but to keep its relevance.
We say this because change is an important part of gaining the nation’s trust. It should change to reach out and touch the people, to show them that politics is not some Byzantine game played out over screeds of paper in wintry meeting rooms but a real and meaningful part of their lives. It should show them that it wants to build a nation with pride in itself.
A thriving community, rich in economic prosperity, secure in social justice, confident in the future. A land in which our children can bring up their children with a future to look forward to. UNIP should show that this is its hope, not just to promise change – but to achieve it.
Their daily deeds as a party must produce an actual Zambian reality that will reinforce our belief in justice, strengthen our confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all our people.
And UNIP will only win the next elections if it succeeds to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people and take away their despair and make all the work that has gone on benefit not just a few.
It gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. People should never give up on just causes; they shouldn’t surrender. Suffering breeds character. Character breeds faith. In the end faith will not disappoint.
UNIP leaders and members should know that no revolution ever comes to an end and that all the revolutionaries have the duty to keep its ideas, principles and goals alive. Even if UNIP was to try to close off prospects for future progress, it wouldn’t be able to do so.
Nobody controls the future. Nobody can deny that UNIP was a revolutionary political movement. We say this because any organisation that struggles to free its people from colonial, imperial domination is a revolutionary organisation and its leaders and members are revolutionaries.
Of course there are other higher forms of being revolutionary but they don’t take away anything from these revolutionaries we are talking about. We think that UNIP did some great work in our country, effecting great changes and engaging in important social projects that will last. Nobody can wipe them out or suppress them. And because of this, there is no reason why UNIP should write itself off completely or anyone else should write it off.
But to guarantee that UNIP does not change its colour, it must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must strain itself and bring up hundreds of thousands of successors who will carry on the cause of its founding revolutionaries.
To us, it is clear that the current leadership of UNIP has failed to run the party, recruit cadres and mobilise support for the party. And we say this without hatred or in any way attempting to undermine any individual. We sincerely believe that this once great party may take a very long time to rise and take its place in our country’s politics if serious changes are not made in its leadership.
There is no need to cling to power if one is not able to deliver because here, what is at stake is an extremely important matter, a matter of life and death for UNIP.
It is a matter of fundamental importance to the continued existence of this political party which deserves attention from all its leaders and members. UNIP needs a new leadership. But what are the requirements for worthy leaders of this party?
They must be genuine Humanists and revolutionaries and not opportunists wearing the cloak of Humanism. They must be revolutionaries who wholeheartedly serve the overwhelming majority of the people of Zambia, and not opportunists who serve the interests of a handful of members.
They must be capable of uniting and working together with the overwhelming majority of our people. Not only must they unite those who agree with them, they must also be good at uniting with those who disagree and even with those who formerly opposed them and have since been proved wrong in practice.
But they must specially watch out for careerists and prevent such bad elements from usurping the leadership of the party at any level. They must be models in applying the party’s democratic principles and must cultivate a democratic style and be good at listening to the members and the masses. They must not act arbitrarily and dictatorially.
They must be modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and impetuosity; they must be imbued with the spirit of self-criticism and have the courage to correct mistakes and shortcomings in their work.
They must never cover up their errors and claim all the credit for themselves and shift all the blame on others. Such are the qualities and style of work demanded of UNIP leaders if we are to see a reversal of fortunes in this political party.
If not, confusion, anarchy, electoral defeats, defections will continue to rock UNIP. Again, the leadership and membership of this political party have the challenge to determine which way UNIP goes – revival or extinction. The choice is theirs.
By Business Reporter
ZAMBIA should invest in professional and vocational training aggressively as a means to creating jobs and strengthening the economy, Lloyds Financial Limited chief executive officer, Lloyd Ching’ambo has said. Professor Ching’ambo who is National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) president said the country should adequately invest in vocational education and be able to satisfy demand for skilled labour.
He said the country had few professional and vocationally trained people saying most of the existing training institutions concentrated much on business courses rather than focusing on entrepreneurship skills which had potential in terms of job creation. Professor Ching’ambo said this in Lusaka yesterday at a meeting on dialogue for the transformation of jobs hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
“Zambians should not look for jobs or employment from the Government or the private sector but should start up their own businesses and be able to employ others.
We need to change our mindset and train more people as electricians, plumbers and other technical skills that are missing in the country,” Professor Ching’ambo said.
He also said that there was need for the country to come up with colleges or universities that would specifically provide training that meets specific needs of various sectors of the economy such as mining, energy, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture among others.
Professor Ching’ambo further urged the Government to come up with deliberate programmes aimed at ensuring that the informal sector was supported saying there was need to create an environment that was condusive for the entrepreneurship skills to thrive.
“For instance, the Government should allow people to easily access capital. In the Far East, that is a basis for development and growth by making it possible for people to access the capital.
“We need to see how to facilitate growth and environment more accessible for the people in the informal sector to access capital,” he said.
At the same meeting, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati said the challenge to the Government was to ensure that the positive developments in the economy were transformed into better jobs.
Mr Mutati explained that there was need for the country to translate the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into people’s pockets.
He said that the Government had targeted to attract a minimum of 100,000 jobs in the country by the end of this year.
“Anything we are going to achieve this year will be focusing on transformation of jobs for the people and the Government will focus more on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) he said.
By NKOLE CHITALA
GOVERNMENT is targeting to create 100,000 jobs this year with a major focus on promoting small and medium enterprises (SME’s). Government has also said it will invest K2 trillion in the development of infrastructure this year. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Felix Mutati, said the investment in infrastructure development would encourage the private sector contribute positively to job creation. Mr Mutati said Government would unlock economic resources as presented in the 2008 national budget and ensure that more people had money in their pockets.
“We are taking a bite by stabilising the economy, invest in infrastructure, build capacity and execute the budget, we need to take development to rural areas, he said.
He was speaking in Lusaka yesterday at a dialogue between Government and the private sector on transformation for jobs in Zambia.
Mr Mutati said while the country’s economic environment was rising, Government was faced with the challenge to have more people participate in economic growth.
He, however acknowledged that the cost of money, infrastructure and over bureaucracy were the main challenges that faced the private in contributing to national growth.
Mr Mutati was optimistic that with the creation of the Citizen Economic Empowerment commission and Zambia Development Agency, Government would strengthen the private sector to create more jobs.
Speaking earlier, Lloyds and Financial Services Managing Director, Lloyd Chin’gambo urged Government to facilitate growth in traditional employment sectors if it had to transform the country into job creation.
Professor Ching'ambo cited education, professional training, specialisation, sector characteristic, level of development and investment in employment facilities programme as some of the factors affecting creation of employment in the country.
By REBECCA CHILESHE
MINISTER of Works and Supply, Kapembwa Simbao, says the Ministry of Justice is reviewing all Government contracts to scrutinise them for possible malpractice. Mr Simbao said this in Lusaka yesterday at National Council for Construction workshop on the status of the Zambian construction industry. He said it was not clear why most contractors had been asking Government to use the International Federation of Consultancy Engineers (FIDIC) conditions when Zambia was not a member of FIDIC.
“It is shocking that contractors have been asking that contracts be signed under FIDIC conditions. In Parliament, I have been at pains several times to explain why we subscribe to FIDIC conditions which are bad, and why we have not pulled out,” he said.
He said Zambia had never been a member of FIDIC and, therefore, no Government contract would be signed under its conditions. He said some contractors were using FIDC conditions as protection when they breach contract rules. This year, Government would be stricter in the award of contracts. He said those who have performed poorly would be blacklisted for Government jobs.
He said he was often at pains to answer queries from President Mwanawasa when he asks how some contracts are arrived at. He said this was the reason Government had stopped giving advance payments to contractors. Government would only pay contractors upon the presentation of certificates of works by relevant authorities.
“Some contractors are making our work very difficult. We give them an advance payment and then they take off and expect us to start pursuing them. We will no longer entertain this,” he said.
Mr Simbao said it was sad that some contractors only got into the industry because of the huge profits involved. He said the NCC, the industry regulator, was being run by qualified people who did not want to be associated with shoddy works. The construction industry was perceived to be one of the most corrupt and therefore measures to clean it up were in place to improve the image of the sector.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
By Bivan Saluseki in Solwezi
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
COPPERBELT Small and Medium Enterprise Suppliers Development Programme working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has said small and medium enterprises need to be helped to develop capacity in view of the opportunities presented by the mines. Programme manager Peter Mwanza said they were working with a number of companies that were unable to get contracts with the mines because of lack of capital.
"We come in as a programme to try and help them. In fact just the IFC, we were looking for investment opportunities of between US $2 million and $10 million," he said.
"That is like non-traditional for the IFC because generally there are limits. The basic minimum limit is about US$10 million for most of their investments."
Mwanza said at the moment, there was a drive, in terms of mining activities, which had opened up investment opportunities for the SMEs.
By Times Reporter
THE parliamentary estimates committee yesterday sent back the team led by acting Secretary to the Treasury James Mulungushi because they did not present satisfactory explanations on the new mining tax regime. Dr Mulungushi was in the company of Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General and other senior members of staff from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.
Dr Mulungushi and his team were asked to prepare a fresh report that would satisfy the committee chaired by Itezhi Tezhi MP Godfrey Beene, and present it by tomorrow. Mr Beene described the report by Dr Mulungushi as unsatisfactory and ordered him to prepare a fresh one, which should be presented before the committee by tomorrow.
Mr Beene told Dr Mulungushi that the committee members were not satisfied because the report left out key details of the proposed windfall tax on copper mines.
Dr Mulungushi had also said that Government plans to open a special account at the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) to keep the excess revenue from the mines.
Dr Mulungushi further said that Government has set up a committee to plan on how the projected revenue of US$415 million would be raised under the new tax regime.
This prompted the committee to question why the projected revenue of US$415 million was not included in the national budget. The committee argued that it is only parliament that has the authority to approve any expenditure and not the executive.
“As a committee, we are looking at the legal position on new mining tax and the position on the setting aside of the excess revenue and why is this money not included in the budget. We are disappointed because you have failed to give us the legal position on these important matters,” Mr Beene said.
And appearing before the same committee Zesco managing director Rhodnie Sisala said the demand for electricity increased from 1,447 MW in 2006 to 1,605 MW in 2007 attributing it to the increased activities in mining, agriculture, commerce, tourism and others sectors.
Mr Sisala said that this year, the demand for electricity is expected to rise as more investment is anticipated in various sectors. He however assured the committee that the savings from Pay As You Earn and Value Added Tax (VAT) would be channeled into investment.
“The power deficit is likely to continue till December 2008 when most of the machines are expected to be back in service. This scenario will translate into load shedding on most retail customers.
“ This situation is expected to improve as upgrade generators are brought back into service from June 2008,” Mr Sisala said.
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
Police inspector general Ephraim Mateyo’s revelation that he believes the Zambia Police Service is leading the race in terms of being corrupt is a surprising one. It is surprising because he is probably the first police chief of our country to admit corruption in the police and rank it in this manner. But this is Mateyo. And this is probably what makes him one of the most successful police chiefs of our country.
It is said that the attitude, the seriousness of purpose of an individual is measured, basically, by the attitude he takes towards his own problems, shortcomings. And in the same way, Mateyo’s seriousness of purpose as our country’s chief cop should be measured by the attitude he takes towards the problems, deficiencies and shortcomings of our police service.
We say this because when problems or weaknesses are admitted and are subjected to self-criticism, they stand a better chance of being corrected. In this way we can get rid of a bad style and keep the good. Self-criticism is another hallmark that distinguishes Mateyo from others. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly. Our police officers’ minds may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing.
The proverb says “Running water is never stale and a door hinge is never worm-eaten”, meaning that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop an honest style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism and to apply such good popular maxims as “Say all you know and say it without reserve”, “Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words” and “Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not” – this is the only effective way to prevent all kinds of dust and germs from contaminating the minds of our police officers and the body of our police service.
Taught by mistakes and setbacks, we should become wiser and handle the affairs of our police service better. It is hard for any person to avoid mistakes, but we should make as few as possible. Once a mistake is made, we should correct it, and the more quickly and thoroughly, the better.
We should all really appreciate the efforts Mateyo is making to better our police service. It may not be much but it is something that shouldn’t be ignored. It is said that what a single ant brings to the anthill is very little; but what a great hill is built when each one does their proper share of the work.
There is no doubt police corruption is a complex phenomenon, which does not really submit to simple analysis. It is a problem that has and will continue to affect us all, whether we are ordinary citizens or law enforcement officers. Since its beginnings, many aspects of policing have changed; however, one aspect that has remained relatively unchanged is the existence of corruption.
In simple terms, corruption in policing is usually viewed as the misuse of authority by a police officer acting officially to fulfil personal needs or wants.
It can be said that power inevitably tends to corrupt, and it is yet to be recognised that, while there is no reason to suppose that police officers as individuals are any less fallible than other citizens, people are often outraged when police officers are exposed violating the law. The reason is simple. Their deviance elicits a special feeling of betrayal.
Many reports that have been produced by various organisations dealing with human rights and corruption support Mateyo’s view that corruption is endemic in the police service. The danger of corruption for police is that it may invert the formal goals of the police service and may lead to the use of police power to encourage and create crime rather than to deter it.
Cops often don’t want to turn in other cops; cops don’t want to be a rat. And even when honest cops are willing to blow the whistle, there may not be anyone willing to listen.
Is there a solution to the police corruption problem? Probably not because since its beginnings, many aspects of policing have changed, but one thing that has not is the existence of corruption. The police service, in an attempt to eliminate corruption have tried everything from increasing salaries, requiring more training and education, and developing policies which are intended to focus directly on factors leading to corruption. What have all these changes done to eliminate or even decrease the corruption problem? Little, if not nothing. Despite the police service’s attempts to control corruption, it still occurs. Regardless of this fact, police corruption cannot still be overlooked.
Controlling corruption is the only way we can really limit corruption, because corruption is a by-product of the individual police officer, societal views, and, police environmental factors. Therefore, control must not only come from the police service but must also require the assistance and support of all the citizens.
Controlling corruption within the police requires a strong leadership organisation, because corruption can take place anywhere from the patrol officer to the chief. The top administrator must make it clear from the start that he and other members of his command are against any form of corrupt activity, and that it will not be tolerated in any way, shape or form. If a police administrator does not act strongly with disciplinary action against any corrupt activity, the message conveyed to other officers within the police service will not be that of intimated nature. In addition it may even increase corruption, because officers feel no action will be taken against them.
Another way the police service can control its corruption problem starts originally at Lilayi Police Training College. Ethical decision and behaviour should be promoted, because failing to make officers aware of the consequences of corruption does nothing but encourage it.
Although the police service should be the main source of controlling the corruption problem of its officers, it also requires some support and assistance from the community.
It is important that the public be educated on the negative effects of corruption on their police service. They should be taught that even ‘gratitudes’ – the most basic and common form of police corruption - is only a catalyst for more and future corruption.
If we do not act to try and control police corruption, the costs can be enormous, because it affects not only the individual, the law enforcement community as a whole, but society as well. Police corruption can be controlled; it just takes a little extra effort. In the long run that effort will be well worth it to both the police service and the community or the nation at large.
For these reasons, it is necessary and important that all the necessary support is given to Mateyo to deal with this problem in the same way he has successfully dealt with other crimes in our neighbourhoods. Mateyo is a good cop who deserves support.
Labels: EPHRAIM MATEYO
By Namakau Nalumango
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
Inspector General of Police Ephraim Mateyo has said he believed the Zambia Police Service was leading the race in terms of being corrupt. Speaking during the official opening of a refresher course in traffic management at Lilayi training college in Lusaka on Monday, Mateyo said although he was aware that corruption was not only in the police service but other ministries and public institutions as well, he believed the police were topping the list in terms of being corrupt.
“I believe we are leading in that race that will send us into jail,” Mateyo said.
He said traffic officers were in the forefront of denting the face of Zambia police.
“Why should you complain when I remove you from traffic section? Is it because of nicekeleko?” Mateyo asked.
He said some of the things that traffic officers got involved in were embarrassing.
“You stop a vehicle and half your body is in the car. And when you remove your person from the car, you fail to wave using your right hand because the other hand is holding the bribe and the poor constable just looks on at the inspector. It’s embarrassing. Let us stop it,” Mateyo urged.
He cautioned members of the public to stop encouraging traffic officers in corrupt activities by bribing them because it took two to committee such a crime.
And Anti-Corruption Commission director general Nixon Banda said the refresher course was the first of its kind aimed at sensitising police traffic officers about the dangers of corruption after his office received a lot of complaints.
Banda said the organisation had to set aside some funds to carry out the programme. He said such refresher courses were on-going in the sense that they were identifying institutions where they could carry out such exercises.
And college commandant Eugene Sibote recommended that traffic officers who misconduct themselves on the road should be reverted to other functions.
He said he realised that traffic officers were exposed to certain vices on the road and their actions had a great bearing on society as a whole.
“These officers are like front desk officers of the police because they are the people the public gets to meet everyday,” said Sibote.
By Mwila Chansa
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
THERE is too much delinquency in the construction sector, National Council for Construction (NCC) board chairperson Dr Francis Ndilila has said. And works and supply minister Kapembwa Simbao has repeated that his ministry would blacklist any contractor doing shoddy works. Meanwhile, special assistant to the president for policy implementation and monitoring, Jack Kalala said the job done by some contractors was pure theft.
During a stakeholders’ meeting on the status of the Zambian construction industry and the proposed way forward held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Dr Ndilila said the construction industry had been in the headlines lately, mostly for wrong reasons.
“Despite our annual growth of 19 per cent in the last few years, this has been shadowed by the infamous headlines in the works we are doing, be it shoddy works on roads or bridges,” said Dr Ndilila.
He said that his analysis of the problems in the sector in the last two months made him to conclude that there was a lot of delinquency.
Dr Ndilila said the delinquency was sparked by people disregarding contract provisions.
And Simbao said the money the government gave to the constraction industry should be guarded jealously.
“That is why this will be a different year, we will be very strict. If we give you a contract and you fail to perform, we shall blacklist you and you will never get a contract, at least not under this government,” Simbao warned.
Simbao urged contractors to stop engaging in corruption because even a single K1,000 they gave as a bribe would land them in court.
“This is perceived as one of the most corrupt industries; if you are in that habit, stop it because it will land you into trouble,” Simbao said.
And Kalala described the performance of some contractors as pure theft.
“What I have observed is that there is no patriotism in what we do. I would understand if a foreigner is the one that did that but if a Zambian does it, it is unforgivable,” said Kalala.
He urged contractors to discharge their duties responsibly because the duty to develop Zambia was vested in Zambians.
By Bivan Saluseki in Solwezi
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
CHIEF Mumena of the Kaonde people has called for orderly development of Solwezi in view of the investments that are taking place. And chief Mumena said the Kasempa-Mumbwa route should be opened up to traffic to decongest the Solwezi-Chingola road. In an interview at his palace, chief Mumena said there should be proper planning of the area including roads in Solwezi.
"In view of the mining developments that are taking place in Solwezi and the copper that is being mined here, right now the route that is being used is from Solwezi into Lusaka. That is almost over 600 kilometres and yet there is a shorter route from Solwezi into Lusaka which is less than 300 kilometres, passing through Kasempa into Mumbwa," he said.
He said the Kasempa- Mumbwa route would be shorter for people of Kasempa, Solwezi and Mwinilunga to transport their finished products.
Chief Mumena also said his chiefdom was supplying unskilled and semi-skilled workers to Lumwana Mine. He said his palace was an information centre and was a point of contact to Lumwana Mining Company.
He said most of those being captured were on the local employment database which was compiled in June last year.
By Patson Chilemba
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga has said the university may opt to increase school fees if government does not reverse the K74 billion allocation in the 2008 budget. Commenting on the allocation to UNZA, Prof Simukanga said he was disappointed with government’s allocation to the country’s highest institution of learning.
“We are equally concerned because this is not even enough for our net. For instance, the net pay for this month is K8 billion. So we have to find about K2 billion to subsidise,” Prof Simukanga said. “That’s why you find that our outstanding bills stand at K250 billion. K120 billion is for ZRA (Zambia Revenue Authority). The rest is for the retirees and contractual obligations.”
Prof Simukanga said he agreed with finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa that UNZA be turned into an autonomous institution so that it could charge ‘cost reflective fees’.
He said running a public university was very difficult.
“Although there is this issue that usually when the budget is out, it’s unlikely to make changes, for me an option would be to increase the fees,” he said.
On University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) president Evans Lampi’s statement that there would be trouble at the campus if the K74 billion is not reversed, Prof Simukanga said management was equally disappointed with the funding.
“But my appeal is that let’s sit down and look at the issue together and if it means increasing the fees, then we can do that,” he said.
However, Prof Simukanga said UNZA management had raised the issue with the Ministry of Education and hoped that something positive would come up.
By Patson Chilemba and Ntalasha Mutale
Wednesday February 06, 2008 [03:00]
IT is impossible for Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba to reconcile because they both have an ‘incurable’ pride, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said. And veteran politician, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika has said there is no need for Chiluba and Dr Kaunda to reconcile.
Commenting on veteran politician Aaron Milner’s bid to reconcile the two former presidents, Sata said it was petty for both Dr Kaunda and Chiluba to continue being at logger-heads. He said Chiluba and Dr Kaunda could not swallow their pride because the latter was always attacking while the former was counter-attacking.
He said there was a historical background to Chiluba and Dr Kaunda’s differences. Sata said Dr Kaunda had failed to come to terms that Chiluba removed him from office.
“When Dr Kaunda was in power, he pulled Chiluba from a conference in Livingstone and threw him in prison. When Chiluba went to power, he pulled Dr Kaunda and threw him in cells. Each one has an incurable pride. How will they come to terms when each one has an incurable pride? When the whole thing dries down, Dr Kaunda springs up and he’s always on the offensive,” Sata said. “The old man does not swallow the pride that he ruled the country for 27 years. Dr Kaunda must accept that Chiluba ruled the country for 10 years and if they do, that will help matters.”
Sata said it was unfortunate that Dr Kaunda and Chiluba were always malicious towards each other. He said the problem with Dr Kaunda was that he never thought anyone could remove him from office.
Sata said African leaders must learn to co-exist and observe mutual respect towards each other.
“The old man behaves like Mobutu Seseseko (former Zaire president). Mobutu Seseseko did not want anybody to be equated to that office of his,” Sata said. “The pride is, Chiluba would not allow to be insulted when there is no need for Dr Kaunda to insult him.”
Recently, Milner said he held separate private talks with Dr Kaunda and Chiluba in a bid to reconcile them.
Milner, who served as home affairs minister in the UNIP government, disclosed that he began talking to Dr Kaunda and Chiluba last year on the need for them to reconcile and begin talking to each other.
But Chiluba said it is impossible to reconcile with Dr Kaunda because the differences between the two were based on fundamental beliefs.
And in an interview, Aka said it was not fair to ask only Chiluba and Dr Kaunda to reconcile because there was much more enmity amongst political leaders.
“What about the other politicians who exchange bitter words? What about the other 11 million Zambians who have differences?” Aka asked.
He said political differences would not be solved if only two people would be looked at to reconcile. Aka said people should not just ask the two to reconcile without finding out the source of their differences.
“What is the meaning of the reconciliation some people are asking for? Is it sending each other flowers, or visiting each other? Or seeing them having a good time together? I think that is impossible to happen,” Aka said. “These differences have not started today. There are a result of the political culture which has been intolerant of diverse views, which has taken opposing views and opposing political opinions. It arises from a failure of coming up with a political leadership that does not embrace a diversity of interests. Chiluba and KK’s problems are a product of a culture where when one loses elections, they are looked at as a failure.”