By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
GOVERNMENT should strengthen investment laws in the mining industry to ensure all export earnings are translated into economic growth, the Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) has said.
PSDA chairperson, Yusuf Dodia, said Government needed to evaluate how the mining industry was impacting on the growth of the economy.
Mr Dodia said in an interview that some mining companies operated with little commitment to the country in terms of paying taxes and other obligations.
And commenting on the liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Mr Dodia said the development was a symptom of the bigger problem in the industry where companied had been allowed to operate without contributing to the economy in a meaningful way.
“I believe that the focus on KCM is just the beginning of the bigger exercise of ensuring that there is equity in the investments that are coming into the mining sector rather than just a plan of our resources which at the end of the day will not translate into long term development of Zambia.
“We need to find a way to strengthen the laws around investments in the mining Industry.
If that is done we would not be necessarily looking only at KCM, we will be looking at the entire mining industry being held accountable for investments into the wider economy,” Mr Dodia said.
Mr Dodia however observed the need to be careful not reacting to the mining industry in terms of pouncing on them.
Mr Dodia said in any progressive economy in the world, goods which were exported from an economy were accounted for by a cash receipt in the banks of that economy, which was not the case in Zambia.
“Zambia’s exports from the mining industry are about a million tonnes which translates into about US$6 billion. If we see it coming into our economy then we can say the mining industry is contributing very well to the growth our economy but this is not happening.
Those are the opportunities that we need to take so that the Industry across the board can be more equitable in translating the copper which is going out of the country into resources that can continue to blend our economy and support the growth broader than the mining industry,” he said.