They do not stand up to scrutiny, and are not supported by the facts
Allegations by UPND mining spokesman Percy Chanda that the mining industry operates in secrecy through private Development Agreements with the government are a whole decade out of date, Chamber of Mines President Nathan Chishimba said today.
He was responding to an article in the Daily Nation [11 December 2017] in which UPND Chairperson for Mines, Percy Chanda, accused the mining industry of having “secret” agreements with the government.
“Statements about the mining industry should be rooted in fact, and not populist emotion,” said Chishimba. “This is critical given the industry’s pivotal role in generating foreign earnings, employment and economic growth.” Chishimba proceeded to refute each of Chanda’s allegations point by point:
- Chanda says there are “secret” Development Agreements between the industry and the government. The Development Agreements were abrogated by the Zambian government nearly a decade ago, in 2008, and replaced by the Mines and Minerals Development Act. The current statutory framework is universally applied, in accordance with prevailing tax laws as enacted by Parliament from time to time.
- Chanda says there is a lack of information about the mineral value chain, and how resources from the industry are being used and optimised. The reality is that much of this information is now publicly available, and all financial flows between the industry and its stakeholders (including government) are independently audited every year by the Zambia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (ZEITI).
- Moreover, there is an EU-funded, Mineral Production Monitoring Support Project that has considerably strengthened the capacity of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development to monitor mining and mineral production in the country.
- Chanda says Zambian artisans are unemployed, while their jobs are taken by expatriates. The reality is that expatriates have very specific skill-sets, are employed under very strict requirements laid down in Zambian law, and constitute barely 5% of the industry workforce – one of the lowest proportions in Africa.
Chishimba said the mining industry and government departments had made significant and important improvements over the past decade in information sharing and transparency, and it is important that this be acknowledged.
“We look forward to the day when politicians find it useful to praise and support the industry, instead of ritually condemning it for short-term political gain.” END