Don’t boast, mine owners told

Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show
Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show

VICE-President Guy Scott has urged mine owners to be civilised in their language and desist from being boastful.
And Government has warned expatriate farmers in Mkushi against disregarding Zambia’s labour laws.

“Let us be civilised and concentrate on extracting minerals. Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” Dr Scott said in Kitwe May 30th during a presidential luncheon at the 57th Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show (CMACS).
The Vice-President reiterated that Government has no intentions of taking over any mining business in the country.
He said Government wants mine owners to pay correct taxes in full.
“We have no plans to take over any mining house as some of the opposition political parties are demanding.
“We will let the owners of the mines run the mines as long as they pay tax in full,” Dr Scott said.
He said Government is interested in the mines being operated by private owners and that they should remit taxes.
Lumwana Mining Company (LMC) general manager Bill MacNevin said the company will continue to play a critical role in the development of the mining sector in the country.
“There are a lot of opportunities for the mining sector in Zambia but success will only come with hard work,” he said.
And speaking when he officially opened the 57th CMACS yesterday, Dr Scott said commercial farmers should respect the country’s laws.
This year’s show is being held under the theme ‘Sustainable and Environmentally Responsible Development – Beyond Zambia’s Jubilee’.
Dr Scott said white farmers are welcome to invest in Zambia as long as they respect national laws but expressed disappointment that some commercial farmers in Mkushi are not paying their workers the recommended minimum wage.
“It is a shame that commercial farmers in Mkushi are not obeying the laws. Shame, stop that kind of behaviour, start behaving like Zambians, you are not going anywhere,” he said.
Dr Scott said Government has no objection to commercial farmers making money but that “there is need for them to respect our laws”.
“We cannot stop you from making money but respect Zambia, respect Zambians and respect your workers. Expatriate farmers, you are welcome in Zambia but respect the law,” Dr Scott said.
He also warned commercial farmers against bribing government officers when obtaining licences.
Dr Scott also urged youths to go into farming.
“There are no jobs in the mines. Jobs are in the agriculture sector, you will be your own boss,” he said.
CMACS chairperson Bill Osborne said the agriculture sector in Zambia is growing stronger.
Mr Osborne said the livestock sector has continued to show positive growth with new investors in the poultry and feedstock sub-sectors.
He said because of this growth, Zambia had recorded an increase in the production of broiler chickens from 65 million in 2012 to 68 million last year.
Mr Osborne said egg production had also recorded a 23 percent upward adjustment while the dairy sector recorded positive growth as envisaged by an increase in the number of milk collection points.
He, however, urged Government to address the high cost of production in agriculture as well as the cost of doing business in general because these could negate the positive strides recorded so far.
Mr Osborne also called on Government to invest in crop storage facilities to avoid wastage of bumper harvests.
He added that the depreciation of the Kwacha is worrying and could harm the economy if not quickly addressed.
Meanwhile, Government would like 2014 to be an industrial conflict-free year that focuses on raising the production levels of the country.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda said this can be achieved through ensuring harmony, and implored Human Resources (HR) practitioners to take a lead in advising  management on labour matters.
Opening the 17th annual general meeting (AGM) of the Zambia Institute of Human Resources Management (ZIHRM) in Livingstone yesterday, Mr Shamenda said the success of the nation depends on the quality of human resource available.
“My ministry is fully aware that some of the collective disputes result from failure by HR practitioners to correctly interpret and administer conditions of service,” he said.
Mr Shamenda said HR practitioners are the chief advisors to management when it comes to labour issues.
He said some investors may not be conversant with the Zambian labour laws, adding that it is the duty of HR managers to advise correctly.
He said Government will soon establish a national productivity centre to monitor the production level of workers.
Commenting on the Health Sector Unions Negotiating Team (HSUNT) that has declared a collective dispute with Government after failing to reach an agreement on the 2014 negotiations for improved salaries and conditions of service for nurses and other health workers in the public service, Mr Shamenda commended the three unions and Government for the manner in which they are approaching labour issues.
“I am very happy that people are following the normal laid down procedures, as we work on the revision of the labour laws, we shall make sure that process is quickened and disputes take shorter period to be resolved,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, ZIHRM president Andrew Chisala commended Government for cleaning up bad labour laws to make work conditions conducive and minimise industrial conflict.


Zambia Daily Mail