Saturday, April 13, 2013

Govt's economic reforms are fair, says Sichinga
By Kabanda Chulu
Sat 13 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT
COMMENT - Actually it's the Economist Intelligence Unit, part of the Economist Group, whose board has direct links to De Beers. Apparently the monitoring of actual exports makes the EIU 'nervous'. Or as the rap song said "The wood starts to creak, and out come the freaks." De Beers smuggles a lot of diamonds and other materials.

THE GOVERNMENT's economic reform programme is fair and offering some of the most attractive incentives in Africa, says agriculture minister Robert Sichinga.

Reacting to assertions by Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) representative Sheila Rai that investors were nervous about signs of regulatory controls that seemed to place capital restrictions on investors, Sichinga said the ongoing reforms in the economy were intended to make the playing field fairer and to encourage more foreign invenstment and ensure mutual benefit for both investors and Zambians.

"There are no capital controls and there are no restrictions whatsoever regarding profits that investors make. What we have done is simply to empower the reserve bank (Bank of Zambia) with an instrument to monitor the value of exports. We want to know for purposes of normal regulatory function that every government performs," Sichinga said during the joint Business Council for Africa (BCA)-Zambia High Commission investment forum held at Zambia House in London.

According to a statement released yesterday by press secretary Amos Chanda, Sichinga said Zambia had only a single agency (Central Statistical Office) that recorded export and import figures.
"But we have now created an instrument that empowers the reserve bank to check on these figures. This does not mean that investors will face any restrictions. Once they have paid the due taxes and met other statutory obligations, they can repartriate their profits," he said.
Sichinga extended invitations to British investors to explore the attractive opportunities Zambia was offering through the planned farming blocks across the country.

"We have enquiries from the Middle East, China, India and America regarding the aqusisition of land for them to produce food for their people.But the United Kingdom has been very slow. We are moving on and I urge you to respond. Our policy is to invite all and exclude none. The UK has a comparative advantage and I urge you to move faster," he said.

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