Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:54:05 +0000
By ROGERS KALERO
NEWLY appointed Mines and Mineral Development Minister Richard Musukwa should work towards dismantling cartels created by foreigners to sideline local suppliers and contractors from getting meaningful contracts from mining companies, Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors (AMSC) President Augustine Mubanga has said.
Mr Mubanga said Mr Musukwa’s appointment as Mines Minister had come at a critical time when mine suppliers and contractors were facing a lot of challenges which needed the support of the government.
He said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that the mine suppliers and contractors were facing challenges which included the formation of cartels by foreigners to prevent them from getting meaningful contracts from mining companies.
He said the cartels were so sophisticated and were using Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and agencies to sideline Zambians.
“Apart from the formation of cartels by foreigners to sideline Zambians from getting meaningful contracts, there is also the formation of companies by foreigners.
“These foreigners have been working in the mines and when their contracts end, they form companies in South Africa and register them as local contractors.
“So when they form companies in South Africa, they supply to mines in Zambia as local suppliers, but the money goes to South Africa. There is also a deliberate move to delay payments by mining companies forcing the local suppliers to go and get ‘kaloba’ with a high interest when paying back.
‘’So in this case, you find that even when they are paid by the mining companies, most of the money they get is paid back to where they got kaloba, leaving them with literally nothing. So these are some of the challenges we are facing and are hoping our new Minister will help us,’’ Mr Mubanga said.
Mr Mubanga said the mining sector was key to Zambia’s economy and must be used to distribute wealth to Zambians through giving them meaningful contracts which they should deliver without interference and intimidation.
He said government and Zambians in general should define how they want to benefit from the mines so that the country could move towards that direction.
He said employment and paying tax to government should not be the only way to benefit from the mining sector, but empowering Zambians through meaningful contracts should be the way to go because if local Zambians were empowered through contracts, they would create jobs for their brothers and sisters.