Osborn counsels Govt on subsidies removal

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:00:09 +0000

MONEY realized from the removal of fuel subsidies should be used in job creation, agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors that will contribute to economic recovery, says former Copperbelt Show Society chairman Bill Osborn. Mr Osborn said Government must ensure that the money raised from the removal of fuel subsidies was used to revive the agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors that would set the stage for economic recovery through the diversification programme.

The former show society chief said in an interview in Kitwe that a well-developed agriculture sector would contribute to poverty alleviation and food security in Zambia, while a revived manufacturing sector would create more employment.

“The removal of fuel subsidies is something which had to happen at one time or the other because the country could not have continued to subsidize fuel. The removal of subsidies will have a knock-on effects because it will push the price of commodities up. It will hit everybody and will affect every sector. “On the other side, it will mean more cash available to Government for other development projects, but this money must not be used on wasteful projects; it must be used on areas like job creation, agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors that contribute to improving people’s lives,” said Mr Osborn. And Mr Osborn has said it was an embarrassment and a serious source of concern for big mining companies like Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to fail to pay salaries for its workers.

Mr Osborn said he was saddened and disappointed to read about KCM failing to pay its workers when it was not even carrying out major expansion projects like Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) which had budgeted US$167 million in 2017 to support its expansion projects. He said it was unheard of for a giant mining company like KCM to be in the media for failing to pay workers’ salaries. “Well, for the few years I have lived in Zambia I have not heard about a giant mining company failing to pay its workers. This is an embarrassment and source of concern.

We just hope that this thing does not get any worse.  “We really don’t know what is happening at KCM because, according to information in the media, KCM is not doing actual mining, but it is just reclaiming ore from waste dumps,” he said. He however commended Mopani Copper Mines for having invested in expansion projects with the hope that when the copper prices begin to rise, the mining company would make profits. “I think Mopani are doing the right thing by investing in expansion projects even when the copper prices are low. They are doing this because they know one day the copper prices will rise,” he said.

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