By SANDRA MACHIMA
ZAMBIA needs two kilogrammes of its finest emeralds to pay its US$750, 000 eurobond that is maturing in 2022, says United for Prosperous and peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) president Charles Chanda.
Mr Chanda said it was unacceptable for Zambia to continue to suffering under the of debt when it had the finest emeralds and other resources in the world to repay its debts.
“Fine emeralds will fetch about $95,500 per carat and since we have 5000 carats in one kg of emerald, this means we can get $477 500 000 from one kg. Therefore two kg of such high grade emerald will give us $955 000, 000,” he stated.
He said the nation was now at a stage where citizens needed to enjoy the benefit of their natural resources especially now amid global Covid-19 pandemic.
He stated that only 2kg of the emeralds could turn the country’s fortune around and enable it repay the eurobond as the nation implements austerity measures to avoid a debt crisis.
Mr Chanda said Zambia was among countries with the best emeralds in the whole world yet foreign investors were the ones benefiting the most while Zambia continued struggling to repay its debt.
“It’s unfortunate that trade is dominated by foreign investors who together with their countries of origin benefit at the expense of the owners, especially with the unattractive mining policy of auctioning emeralds, ” he said.
He said the excess of the money could also be channeled to other deserving sectors such as education, which he described as a cornerstone for any developing country like Zambia.
It was high time the government supported local citizens if the dream of not leaving anyone behind as stated in an agenda for 2030 sustainable development plan was to be achieved.