Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Govt gives mines ultimatum on contracts for Zambians
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Fri 20 Sep. 2013, 14:00 CAT

MILES Sampa has given mining companies a 30-day ultimatum to give local contractors and suppliers business, failure to which the government will introduce a Statutory Instrument to compel them.

Addressing leaders of associations for mine suppliers and contractors including the Kitwe and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sampa, who is commerce deputy minister, said he would be on the Copperbelt after 30 days to see if mining companies have started giving enough business to the locals.

He said appropriate action would be taken against companies that would fail to comply and that such mining firms would be named and shamed for refusing to empower Zambians.

He said the government was not happy that the business of contracts and supply in the mines was mainly given to foreigners.

Sampa said the PF government was voted into power to change the lives of Zambians for the better by giving them business opportunities to grow their business and not to deprive them.

"My job and that of the entire government is not to make the Chinese and the South Africans rich. My job is … to make Zambians rich through business. The new broom is here and it starts now. We are here to sweep the Copperbelt and when we finish, Zambians must be rich," Sampa said.

He said the government was mindful and aware of the good and bad investors in the mining sector.

Sampa said the government was working towards creating a win-win situation between the investors in the mines and majority Zambians.
He said the idea of getting suppliers from abroad or engaging foreign companies to do projects in the mines that Zambian companies were capable of doing would be brought to an end.

"We have reports about a mining company that is importing sand from South Africa when there is abundant sand in Zambia. Some of these mining companies have even gone to an extent of hiring a South African company to supply them water. That we are not going to tolerate going forward," Sampa said.

"Foreign companies have become rich, going back with a lot of money, smiling while our people are languishing in poverty. This is unacceptable and we will change the situation."

He further urged suppliers to unite under one association, adding that there was no need to have many associations representing the contractors and suppliers.

And speaking earlier, Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors president Augustine Mubanga said lack of proper implementation of existing legislation such as the mines and minerals development Act was a major challenge facing the country.

He said many Zambians doing business in the mining sector had been marginalised despite having capacity to carryout projects.

Mubanga said the association had taken comfort in the words of government.

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