On Tuesday, January 16, I held my first press briefing of the year 2018 in my office where I addressed a number of issues affecting the Copperbelt Province and outlined a number of plans that the Copperbelt Administration has lined up for 2018 and beyond.
As Copperbelt, we have since declared 2018 as a year of action.
Chiefly among them was the issue of outsourcing of supply contracts by our mining companies operating in the province. I denounced this practice by our mining firms to procure most of their services and goods from abroad even in situations where local expertise exists.
As Minister in charge of the Province, I will not allow mining companies to continue with this practice where some of these companies even have their procurement departments domiciled outside the country.
We have to give priority to local suppliers and where local expertise is lacking, those foreign suppliers must be compelled to partner with our local suppliers as a way of growing local beneficiation and skill transfer.
I further disclosed that in 2018, the Provincial Administration will work with the Ministries of Mines and Minerals Development and Commerce, Trade and Industry to launch a comprehensive investment audit of all mining companies to check the level of fresh investment that has been pumped into the sector post privatization.
It is now a source of concern for my office that some of mining investors are not mining any fresh ore but are busy digging up the Copper waste or slug, these are jobs that our youths in the Province can do. Once the audit reveals that some of these companies have under invested and failed to honour their investment pledges, we will recommend appropriate action be taken against such companies as a way of protecting our natural resources.
I also called on the civil service in the Province to remain professional and offer support to our newly appointed Permanent Secretary Comrade Bright Nundwe. I further warned cadre civil servants that they will be flushed out of the Province if they fail to support the government of the day. I shall not tolerate sheer laziness, a laissez-faire attitude towards work and partisan politics in the province.
In conclusion, I called for unity of purpose in 2018 both at the executive and party level in the province. As Head of the Province, I shall remain the ears and eyes of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the great leader of this country to ensure that we deliver according to our people’s expectations.
I also wished all Copperbelt residents a productive and action oriented 2018.