Monday, August 05, 2013

CSOs call on investors to pay taxes
By Misheck Wangwe in Ndola
Sat 20 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE three Church mother bodies and civil society organisations say mine investors must not be allowed to use corporate social responsibility programmes as a substitute for paying correct taxes.

Speaking at a press briefing in Ndola to conclude a three-days Zambia Alternative Mining Indaba, Abraham Chikasa who spoke on behalf of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and civil society organisations said the PF government must be firm on the extractive industries when it comes to the collection of taxes on behalf of Zambians.

Chikasa said the existing tax regimes in the mining sector were inadequate and undermined the socio-economic benefits of Zambians from the extractive industries.

"The government must strengthen the current weak governance systems which render the vulnerable to corporate dictates. The Zambian government is not getting the deserved taxes from the mines and on the other hand our demand is that corporate social responsibility programmes must not just be mere publicity, driving their public relations agenda," Chikasa said.

He said mechanisms and guidelines must be put in place within CSR to link it to the already existing national, provincial and district plans within communities.

Chikasa said the Church and CSOs noted with great concern that CSR programmes which were expected to be a tool for poverty reduction was taken for granted by extractive companies and the government.

He further said the government must come up with laws and policies that would protect displaced communities and ensure that they were given alternative land and adequately compensated for loss of livelihoods.

"CSR by mining companies must be underpinned by transparency, accountability and respect for human rights by providing quantifiable information on what goes into CSR projects. We further demand transparency and disclosure in investments and trade contracts to benefit governments, citizens and companies," Chikasa said.

Chikasa said there was need for the government to further ensure that 51 per cent ownership of all mining contracts be owned by Zambians.

He said the government must have a clear, transparent and consistent contract awarding mechanism that would result in maximizing the benefits of extractive industries while promoting ethical investments

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