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MINISTER PETITIONED

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

MINES Minister Paul Kabuswe has been petitioned to act on mining firms that have been declearing loses to avoid paying tax.

The Evangelical Youth Alliance  (EYA)  Executive Director Reverend Moses Lungu presented a petition to the minister warning Government to act and save the country from minerals’ exploitation by crooked foreigners who are taking advantage loopholes in the mining sector. 

EYA has particularly demanded that mining licences issued to companies owned by Arc Minerals be revoked.

It has also demanded in its petition that all companies that are engaged in dubious business undertakings in the mining sector should have their licences suspended until a thorough inquiry is instituted.  ​

And Reverend Lungu who presented the petition to the minister has noted that investment in mining is not anchored on taxes, but on the availability of minerals and expressed fear that if Mineral Royalty Tax becomes deductible from corporation tax, then the Treasury is likely to get nothing. 

Rev Lungu said as a representative of a consortium of civil society organisations, EYA last week, also delivered a petition to the British High Commissioner to Zambia over the business activities of Arc Minerals, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands but which owns three companies in Zambia.  

He said the EYA is aware that some technocrats in the Ministry of Mines have been holding successive ministers hostage by misleading them on some decisions. 

Rev Lungu also explained that mineral exploration in Zambia started as early as 1914 and that some foreign mining companies are using the exploration drill holes which were left by the Rhodesia Congo Border Concession (RCBC) and Makena’s Prospects to speculate on the London and New York stock exchange.  

“Explorers did the geology of the whole Zambia, got the locations of each place and the minerals which are there to the finest details, including how many drill holes have been done. So, what most of these companies have done, just like Arc Minerals, is that they hire foreign drilling companies and using the information already available, they will go and twin the holes,” he explained. 

Rev Lungu said most foreign companies that are getting exploration licences have no interest in running mines and that their only interest is to explore, declare findings, and in some instances sell their licences to giant mining companies, at a huge profit.

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