The opposition Forum for Democracy and Development has appealed to Barrick Gold to exercise patience before pulling out of the country.
In a statement released to the media FDD President Edith Nawakwi called on the mining firm to wait for the out of the elections which she said will see the PF live office hence pave way for a new government which can negotiate for a win-win situation for both the mining company and the people.
Ms. Nawakwi accused the ruling Patriotic Front government of not caring about the well being of the workers who will be left jobless once the company pulls out.
The opposition leader also noted that if the PF government had embraced the spirit of dialogue the situation wouldn’t have arisen.
She also said that her party once voted into office will have an open door policy to investors and other stakeholders to ensure that such situations are sorted out with any complications.
Below is a full statement released by the opposition party.
The news that Barrick Gold intends to suspend its operations at Lumwana mine in Solwezi at a time we thought we are making some positive gains by attracting some big mining operators such as Barrick Gold is very sad.?
?We are aware that Barrick Gold has made several attempts to engage in dialogue with government over the new taxes but they have been snubbed because this government does not value dialogue and does not care about the plight of the people who will be jobless when the mine shuts down.?
?The attitude of the ruling Patriotic Front leaders in managing not the only mining sector but the entire country’s economy lives much to be desired because there is no way that at this juncture that the government can fail to negotiate an arrangement were both the people and the mining sector can benefit.?
?Governments intention when it transferred the mining sector to the private sector was meant to make the sector viable but not for government completely layoff its hands.?
?We as FDD want to tell this government that for the next 28 days if there is anything they can do for the people of Zambia is to persuade investors to wait for the new government which we will be formed by FDD so that we can reopen dialogue between the business community and the government.?
?As FDD we urge Barrick Gold not shut down the mine but wait until the out come of the elections and we want to assure them that when form government next January ours will be a government with an open door policy to the business community and other stakeholders in the running of the country’s affairs.?
?Once we form government we want to forge a partnership of trust and mutual respect between government and investors not only those in the mining sector but the entire business community.?
?We as the FDD are appalled with the PF’s conduct regarding the treatment of investors since the got into office in 2011 and we wish to appeal to the business community to have a little patience as the current government has less 30 days before it is booted out by the people in the next elections. ?
?I call on all well meaning Zambians to work hard in ensuring that we escort the PF out of government and stop the confusion which the have taken to the business community before the country’s economy is completely ruined.?
Edith Zewelani Nawakwi?