Republican Vice-President Dr Guy Scott has reported Zambia Sugar Plc to the Zambia Competition Commission for using their monopoly to overprice their product.
This is according to a press statement released by Patron Chilemba ,First Press secretary Zambian High Comission South Africa.
Dr Scott said government needs to enforce regulation on the mining operations in the country to curb vices such as tax evasion and ensure that people get a fair share from their natural resources.
A recent report by a non-governmental organization Action Aid entitled Sweet Nothings: claims that Zambia Sugar Plc, a company in the Illovo Sugar group, which was bought in 2007 by Associated British Foods, uses tax-haven sister companies in Ireland, Mauritius and the Netherlands to minimise tax and has in the process prevented Zambia from collecting $27-million in tax revenue.
However, in a recent interview Dr Scott said although he does not concur with the allegations of tax-evasion against Zambia Sugar, he believes the company is guilty of using their monopoly to overprice their sugar products, a matter he says he has since reported to the competition regulator, the Zambia Competition Commission.
“I think people should understand there is a problem with the public sector and a bigger problem with the private sector which needs to be addressed” Dr Scott said.
And reacting to recent protestations in South Africa’s Business Day Newspaper on the decision by government to ban foreign sales of local gemstones, with some analysts like David Gleason accusing government of returning to Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s era of nationalizing mines in the story headlined “Cut from the same Kaundan cloth”, Dr Scott said Gleason should acknowledge that there have been massive rip-offs by foreign mining companies of the profits they were making from Africa’s resources.
“What he should do as a very experienced mining manager, he was in Anglo-American years ago, that we should find a solution to the issue of taxation, externalization of accounts, or part of the accounts,” Dr Scott said. “It’s much more sensible than saying that Zambia is being paranoid again about these companies…some of them have cheated tax evasion not so long ago. If they will do that to the United States government, what will they do to the Zambian government? So it’s re-assurance that is needed, it’s regulation.”
Dr Scott said what was needed world over was not necessarily public ownership, but regulation in order to curb cheating and ensure that people got a fair share from their resources.
He said Kagem could not claim innocence because that was not obvious to everybody.
“What we are emphasizing is that we are not accusing investors of being thieves, but the need to enhance transparency that they should be above suspicion,” said Dr Scott.
On the issue of job creation in the country, Dr Scott said the government has embarked on ambitious programmes in infrastructural development in form of roads, housing, recruitment of people into jobs and resuscitation of neglected industries such as rail transportation.
He said he was confident that the over seven (7) percent growth target for 2013 would be attained mainly as a result of the capital-intensive projects in mining.
“A lot of countries including South Africa are making what looks like big economic strides because of what they are doing in Capital intensive areas like gold mining, copper mining in Zambia,” said Dr Scott. “(However), the actual people still remain poor and that’s what we have to focus on.”