Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sata a frank, nice person - Shamenda
By Gift Chanda
Wed 13 Nov. 2013, 14:01 CAT

FACKSON Shamenda says President Michael Sata is frank, kind and a nice leader. Shamenda, who is labour minister, yesterday said investors should not misunderstand President Sata's frankness to mean he is scaring them away.

Recently, Konkola Copper Mines announced it would lay off more than 1,500 workers because the company wanted to mechanise its operations. But President Sata ordered KCM not to lay off workers. The government called for a meeting with KCM officials.

However, in the meeting, Shamenda said KCM chief executive Kishore Kumar dismissed President Sata's statement as rhetoric.

The government later called for a meeting with Kumar again to discuss his statement.

However, Kumar left the country, forcing the government to declare him a prohibited immigrant.

Later, President Sata told The Post that Kumar had demeaned Zambians.
And speaking in Lusaka after Chibuluma Mines Plc and the Mine Workers' Union agreed to a 12 per cent salary increment for workers, commencing next year, Shamenda assured mining investors in the country that their investments were safe.

He said the government was not interested in meddling in the running of the mines.

"... we just want you to play to the rules of the game," Shamenda said. "Some people misunderstand the frankness of our President as if he scares people. He is a very kind and nice person. I have worked with a number of presidents, but none beats him.... You can't just wake up and say you are doing this. There must be signs."

Shamenda said President Sata was a nice and listening person.

"He President Sata is a very frank person, if you have got ideas, 'ifyamano tabakokola ukumfwa'. He doesn't hesitate to listen to sensible ideas, but if you are arrogant and you try to play tricks, then you can never be a good friend of our President," he added.

He said while the government would strive to create a conducive environment for investment, the interest of the people would come first.

"A conducive environment for investment is not necessary where you want the government to be leaking the boots of an investor," Shamenda said.

"In fact, in such cases where this happens, it is the leaders who actually benefit. It is the leaders who are bribed, but this government does not tolerate such kind of arrangement. We consider the interest of the people who put us into power first."

And the Mine workers Union of Zambia says mining investors should avoid using recent policy changes on fuel subsidy, monitoring of foreign exchange, as well as the low copper price not to award decent salary increments to their workers.

MUZ general secretary David Chewe said mining investors should not give excuses of the recent policy shifts to avoid paying decent salaries to their workers.

"They should emulate Chibuluma with whom we concluded negotiations within record two days. They did not give excuses of the low copper prices or the fuel subsidy removal," Chewe said.

And Chibuluma Mines general manager Jackson Sikamo said the fact that the negations were concluded in a record two days was not a sign of weakness by either parties involved in the process.

"It is a reflection of the importance attached to the welfare of our employees and the appreciation by the union of the challenges we are facing," he said.

He said the mining firm was having challenges in securing financing for the Chifupu project which would extend the Chibuluma mine project beyond 2021 and secure over 750 direct and indirect jobs.

Sikamo said the funds for the Chifupu project, which requires in excess of US$23 million, were ordinarily supposed to be sourced from external financiers, but financiers are not willing to provide the company !the necessary financing because of the 2012 tax changes on capital allowance.

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