Friday, January 23, 2009

Letters - Zambians can run mines

Zambians can run mines
Written by Edwin Zulu
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:28:20 AM

It’s high time the Zambian government gave chance to indigenous people to run and own the mines. Who knows, they could do a better job than some investors who do not have the heart for the country but profits.

Given priority and incentives, Zambians can prove their worth and develop the nation. Besides, they want to bring prosperity to their country.

If the government continues to sideline its own people, then development will be far-fetched.

Whatever profits made will not be externalised. They will be used for national development. That way, the country will experience massive job recruitments, infrastructure development and social benefits for all, irrespective of background and status.

Zambians have been successful in many business ventures. They can do wonders if given an opportunity.

Mutati, local investment
Written by Sizwe, B Ndola
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:29:31 AM

I fail to understand why commerce minister Felix Mutati is always concerned with attracting and protecting foreign investors instead of building confidence in local investment by encouraging small to medium-scale enterprises to run key economic sectors in the country. ‘Coercing’ foreign investors with tax exemptions and other incentives will never develop our economy.

Mutati rightly observed and educated Rupiah on the risks of single sourcing of investors. But Mutati himself is ignorant of the dangers of over-dependence on foreign investment. Take a leaf from South Africa, China, India and others, see how they have developed and strengthened their economies. It is through empowering local investors and encouraging partnerships with foreign ones.

Among the immediate tasks for Mutati are:

(i) push for the quick release and disbursement of the Citizens Economic Empowerment Funds to deserving business proposals/firms.

(ii) convince the government to give tax exemptions to SME’s too and

(iii) devise workable systems of local and foreign investor partnerships.

CEEC is a sham
Written by Jevic Des, Lusaka
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:27:23 AM

Allow me to register my utmost displeasure at the manner in which the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has been operating.
We have heard several calls from the CEEC inviting people to submit proposals for funding, but each time one visits their offices, they seem to be so disorganised with members of staff often issuing contradictory statements. The application forms seem to be in short supply and when you are referred to commercial banks, you are destined for a big “we have run out of forms”! One wonders where the many forms that were printed have gone because the CEEC has been on air lamenting how few proposals are being received.

Why should CEEC continue inviting applications when not even one of the projects approved in November 2008 has received funding? Is it not a shame that people's brilliant proposals are sitting in some office for so long, bearing in mind that Zambia is not a place where we respect intellectual property? My fear is that sooner than latter, some proposals will find their way into wrong hands, the result being that the one who spent so much time researching will lose out to some corrupt elements because there is simply no guarantee that the papers are secure. Unless somebody acts, this CEEC thing will soon prove to be a scam.

My advice to all those whose projects were approved in November 2008 is that they should take CEEC to task. This is the only way Zambians will be respected for their efforts and intellectual property rights.The fund does not belong to any individual, political or otherwise. It is simply for the deserving Zambian and, unless there was a scam, projects approved in November 2008 underwent the necessary scrutiny.

How long has CEEC been in operation? How many workshops have they been holding and how many salaries have the employees received to date? CEEC, please say the truth and shame the selfish individuals. You can suppress the truth, but only for a season, after which it becomes more truthful!

Zambians wake up! Remember what happened to the Youth Empowerment Fund.

Plight of NCZ workers
Written by T Zulu, Lusaka
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:26:11 AM

It is really shameful and sad for Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia workers in Kafue to still be fighting for their dues and crying for the re-opening of the fertiliser manufacturing plant.

It is sad that these workers have been singing the same song for a long time and it seems they will continue doing so under the Rupiah regime.

During Rupiah's campaign rally in Kafue, NCZ workers' wives were given chitenge materials and heared all sorts of promises.

A few months down the line, after the campaign dust has settled, NCZ is still in troubled waters. Maybe some voters in Kafue are being punished for not voting for the ‘right candidate.’

Keeping NCZ closed and not bailing out home-grown companies like NCZ will only work to the advantage of foreign fertiliser suppliers. Misplaced priorities, I guess, will just keep on piling up.

Increasing number of MPs
Written by Concerned citizen
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:23:55 AM

I have read with annoyance the desire by the wasteful NCC delegates proposing to increase the number of MPs from 150 to 250. This is a charade call! The MPs we have do not add value to the development and governance of this country. Zambia is on auto pilot. I reject such calls as costly due to the following reasons:

- This venture will increase MPs gratuity payment budget which they don't deserve

- The MPs we have tow party lines; they have no development agenda apart from sitting in Parliament waiting for their parties’ directives

- We, the Zambians, have seen very little relevance of the MPs so far. We have the cholera epidemic ravaging Lusaka. As law makers, they could have compelled the government to prevent it as it is a perennial disease which is predictable and preventable. They allowed it to blossom due to poor service delivery by the central the government.

- There are selective development projects in Zambia, with the ruling party’s constituencies receiving more attention than those of the opposition. See the shambles in mayoral elections as a test case.

- It will increase the rate of bye-elections due to unprincipled defections and expulsions that characterise each term ever since multipartism set in 1991. This is costly.

- The MPs have failed to compel the government to assent to the freedom of information Bill and democratise the public media institutions such as ZNBC, Times and Daily Mail as these still under government-owed and state-controlled draconian hands, which are still used as campaign tools by people in authority to perpetuate their stay in power even when we voluntarily in a democracy tell them we don't want them.

The current MPs have failed Zambians and there is no need to have a blotted group that will not achieve anything but perpetuate more failures.

Zambian Airways
Written by Kapambwe Salangeta
Friday, January 23, 2009 7:22:50 AM

The suspension of flights by Zambian Airways has been the discussion for
the past week or so. Many people, so far, are of the view that the government has been insensitive in the manner it has handled the issue of Zambian Airways. I feel the same.

First, the Minister of Communication and Transport Dora Siliya has been on record saying that the suspension of this local airline will have no impact whatsoever on the Zambian economy, specifically mentioning the tourism industry.

This is a lie! In my humble view, I know that Zambian Airways employs quite a number of Zambians. It also pays tax in one way or another.

This means that if it eventually closes down permanently, some people will be jobless and this will put pressure on the government because it is supposed to create employment for its citizens.

I have seen that some private companies on the verge of collapse have been bailed out by their governments. Such companies are one Italian Parmalat and AIG. Governments come to the aid of these firms because they realise how they might negatively affect their economies should they collapse.

Maybe we do not need this in our country, but I feel strongly that in one way or another, our country can benefit from it economically.

Our government should focus on creating employment and in my view, it is private firms like Zambian Airways which are supplementing its efforts. So please madam minister, think twice and come up with something to help our local airline.

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