Government has learnt with concern that Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi has retrenched 93 workers and plans to retrench 400 others.
Chief Government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili has since warn that government will not take kindly to any mining company that decides to lay off its workers arbitrarily under the pretext of the new mining tax regime.
Mr. Kambwili who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister pointed out that all mining companies are aware of the standing order which obliges them to consult the government through the Ministry of Labour before any decision to retrench any worker is effected.
He said it was government’s considered view that should there be need to retrench anyone by the mining companies, the first workers to be retrenched should be expatriates and not Zambians.
Mr. Kambwili said government has been extremely flexible and magnanimous on the issue of the mining tax as evidenced by President Edgar Lungu’s directive to the Minister of Finance and Mines to review the mining tax regime and make recommendations to Cabinet by 8th April, 2015.
Among the options the President asked the Ministers to consider were the status quo but negotiate interim fiscal arrangements for operations that are most affected on a case-by-case basis, identifying potential legal or regulatory modifications to the existing 2015 fiscal regime that could be readily passed and implemented and defer implementation of the 2015 fiscal regime.
Another option was to temporary reinstate the 2014 fiscal regime as a more amicable regime is negotiated.
Mr. Kambwili said government expects all mining companies to reciprocate its gesture on this matter.
“Government appeals to Kansanshi to reinstate the 93 workers as the right procedure has not been followed,”Mr. Kambwili said.
He reiterate government’s commitment to creating a favourable environment for both local and private investments to flourish saying this should be done within the country’s laws and regulations.