By SILUMESI MALUMO
THE move by ZCCM-IH to secure 45 percent in gold processing will enable the country earn meaningful revenue, Forum Energy Zambia has said.
Forum chairperson, Johnston Chikwanda, said the move was a commendable effort on part of ZCCM-IH which in the past had been holding a paltry 20 percent in some mining firms.
“If this kind of effort we are witnessing today of securing a minimum 45 percent coupled with an option of increasing the level of shareholding and strong participation in the management was started a long time ago, we wouldn’t be where we are today as a country,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda told the Daily Nation yesterday that it was not an easy undertaking to secure this kind of shareholding in addition to participation in managerial sensitive positions in an investment.
“The laws of this country have allowed for investors to come and invest in priority sectors in line with ZDA guidelines. If Karma has met the ZDA guidelines, let’s allow them to operate as long as they are following the licence conditions.
“As Zambians we should not frown on investment size as we are the ones who set minimum investment thresholds at US$250, 000. It is not Karma who set our investment thresholds.
He said the gold sector in the country remained a captive of significant malfeasance and other illegalities since time immemorial and if harnessed well, it had great potential to contribute enormously to the economic development of this country.
“Our African brothers have met the ZDA requirements and were poised to partner with our local communities in Rufunsa and Mumbwa on their own but new Government Policy which has repositioned gold as a strategic metal has introduced ZCCM-IH into the equation and gotten at least 45 percent in the Karma operation.
“This is a commendable effort as a start and a demonstration of strong praxis of leadership bearing in mind where we are coming from as a country. When analysed closely, our fellow African investor in this transaction may actually be bleeding having lost 45 percent shareholding on top of some sensitive managerial positions,” Mr Chikwanda observed.
Mr Chikwanda said repositioning ZCCM-IH in a new strategic direction of increasing shareholding would bring sanity and revenue.
In the same vein, Mr Chikwanda said, Government must be commended for establishing the ZCCM Gold Company in which ZCCM-IH held 51 percent and Ministry of Finance at 49 percent.
He said the arrangement implied that Zambians would control gold assets which the company would get on its own such as the Kansenseli Gold Mine and other gold mining operations.
By SILUMESI MALUMO