Wednesday, May 23, 2012
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Wed 23 May 2012, 13:37 CAT
NO decision has been made by the government to nationalise Zanaco, says President Michael Sata's special assistant for economics and development affairs, Paul Siame.
Reacting to Professor Oliver Saasa's statement on Monday that President Sata's remarks on Zanaco were premature and could send shivers in the economy that government was going to nationalise the bank, Siame said nationalisation is not the government's policy.
President Sata on Friday hinted that the government might "move in" on anything which was privatised with corruption like Zanaco.
"Don't be misled that Zambia is going back to nationalisation; we are not nationalising anything but anything which was privatised with corruption like Zamtel, we will 'move in'. Anything which was privatised with corruption like Zanaco, we will 'move in', but that's not nationalisation, we are going to float those shares publicly," President Sata had said.
Last February, President Sata constituted a commission of inquiry chaired by justice minister Sebastian Zulu to probe the manner and process the 49 per cent stake in Zanaco was sold to Rabobank of Netherlands at US$8.25 million.
The report of the inquiry, according to Zulu, is ready awaiting permission from the Secretary to the Cabinet to hand it to the President.
Prof Saasa, an economic and political consultant, said Zanaco should not be nationalised and challenged the government to state what President Sata meant.
But Siame, in a statement issued yesterday, stated that the government welcomed investors across all sectors of the economy and had provided for incentives aimed specifically at increased levels of investment and international trade, as well as increased domestic economic growth.
He stated that transparency, property protection and non discrimination were investment policy principles that underpin the government's efforts to create a sound investment environment for all in order to spur more domestic investment, sustain high levels of foreign investment and enhance economic diversification.
"The government has a duty as custodians of national assets to protect public interest where they may be allegations of corruption such as the privatisation process of Zamtel and therefore institute investigations. In the case of Zamtel, investigations did indeed prove that it was corruptly privatised and the government took the necessary corrective measures in national interest in line with its policy of zero-tolerance on corruption," he stated.
"The government fully supports measures that encourage responsible business conduct by all investors, be they small or large, domestic or foreign."
Siame stated that the government would continue promoting investment, foreign and domestic, to tap emerging and existing investment opportunities to boost the country's development objectives towards becoming a diversified economy driven by investment and a vibrant private sector.
Meanwhile, President Sata has with immediate effect created Zimba as a new district in Southern Province.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations George Chellah stated yesterday that this was contained in the President's letter to the provincial minister Obvious Mwaliteta.
President Sata advised Mwaliteta to liase with all the stakeholders, political parties and their royal highnesses, for them to establish the centre where the district headquarters would be located.
Zimba is the second district to be established Southern Province within seven days.
Last week, President Sata created Pemba as a district in line with his campaign promise to decentralise government operations for the effective and efficient delivery of services to the people.