By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE Federation of Small-Scale Miners of Zambia (FSSMZ) has urged the new Government to include the sector at every stage of policy formulation in an effort to avoid formulating defective policies which will harm business.
Lack of inclusivity leads to producing defective policies which fail to take into context the challenges and problems that the small-scale miners experience, according to FSSMZ chairman, Joseph Mwansa.
Mr Mwansa said in an interview that defective policies had led to illegal mining in the sector.
“The Federation of Small-Scale Miners of Zambia calls upon the new Government as a matter of priority to consider reforming the statutory and cost barriers that stand as entry obstacles for the artisan and small-scale miners.
“The legislative and policy reforms must be inclusive of villagers in rural Zambia who ply their trade as artisan miners,” he said.
Mr Mwansa indicated that the major problems facing the Zambian mining sector was the high prevalence of illegal mining activities.
He attributed the illegal mining activities to unresponsive statutory requirements, inconsistent mining policies and generally a hostile environment which is tilted towards large scale miners and foreigners.
These factors, he said, had effectively worked against a lot of Zambians pushing them into illegal mining.
“It is practically difficult to end illegal mining activities with such disadvantageous frameworks. The root cause of illegal mining must be examined and dealt with appropriately at legislative level.
“In addition, prohibitive costs must be reduced or scrapped so that they assist the indigenous people in transitioning to legal mining activities,” Mr Mwansa said.
He commended the President-elect, Mr Hakainde Hichilema for promising to support small and medium scale enterprises.
This, he said, had ignited hope in the small-scale mining industry and believed that the new Government would diligently provide solutions to the important sub sector.
“Zambia is one of the richest nations in the world in terms of natural resource endowment with a manageable population of about 18 million, yet people are poor because of bad policies, misplaced priorities and mismanagement.
“A peasant farmer and Artisanal miner are engaged in almost the same thing but artisanal miners are required to pay huge amounts of money beyond their capacities. Such practices have affected the operations of the small-scale miners,” Mr Mwansa said.