9th September 2019
Issued by the Zambia Chamber of Mines
For immediate release
Zambia Chamber of Mines forecasts a massive drop in copper production for 2019.
“With this current tax regime, we have slipped into reverse” says Chamber CEO
Zambia’s Copper production is set to fall by a massive 100, 000 tonnes this year according to the Zambia Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer, Sokwani Chilembo.
This confirms the Chamber’s forecast, first voiced in May, that Zambia’s copper production will drop to around 750, 000 tonnes in 2019 compared to last year’s production of 860,000 tonnes.
“This is a distant continental second behind the Democratic Republic of Congo who trailed our volumes for seventy-five years until 2013 and now forecast above 1,200 million tonnes of production in 2019. Meanwhile, it is likely that our own industry will drop-off the global top ten Copper producers list.”
As government considers the 2020 Budget and adjustments to the current mining tax regime, the Zambia Chamber of Mines is hopeful that the jarring downturn in industry performance and outlook will be viewed against the backdrop of recent policy outcomes within the region.
“With this current tax regime, we have slipped into reverse while Zimbabwe has reviewed an earlier position to make mineral royalties non-deductible and in Namibia, the government has made the prudent decision to suspend implementation of non-deductibility for a year to allow for a more thorough risk assessment of its impact.”
The Zambian mining industry has been battling to sustain production levels, to contain cost escalation and to maintain asset quality after over a decade of near biennial tax burden increases. In addition, non-tax revenue measures have rapidly accumulated and electricity tariff increments have not been informed by an industry cost of service study to benchmark what the cost of electricity for bulk consumers should be under a reformed ZESCO.
The Chamber has already submitted detailed mining tax proposals which aim to resuscitate the Zambian mining sector by putting in place a competitive, stable and investor friendly measures.
These measures include: –
- A true mineral royalty sliding scale, as opposed to the present stepped scale; capped at 7.5 per cent.
- Restoration of deductibility of the mineral royalty against corporate tax.
- The removal of concentrate import duties.
- The removal of ore, precious metal and gemstone export duties.
- In line with the Zambia Private Sector Alliance’s recommendation, retention of Value Added Tax (VAT) over Sales Tax introduction is a key precursor to predictability. To support VAT the mining industry has proposed the two-year limitation to 90 per cent of its fuel and electricity related VAT refunds.
There are several non-tax revenue measure proposals that include kwacha inflation-linked electricity tariff increases until completion of a viable cost of service study, limitation of National Health Insurance contributions to 0.5 per cent, freezing of mandatory contributory scheme levels and finally, the exemption of mobile equipment and underground developments from municipal rates.
“The Chamber’s hope is that the full submission would receive rigorous consideration to secure an outcome that would grow production to above a million tons in five years and increase mining tax receipts by around a fifth .The revenue increase will be even higher if policy is adjusted enough to motivate operationalisation of just one or two of the promising large mining prospects our country has .” Mr Chilembo said.
Also see Times of Zambia ,Tuesday September 10th 2019
and https://www.pressreader.com/zambia/daily-nation-newspaper/textview of 10th Sepetember 2019.