Luanshya District Commissioner Harold Mbaulu has observed that government is losing mineral revenue due to lack of mechanisms in place to ensure transparency on how much money the mines where realizing and remitting to government.
Mr. Mbaulu said transparency was cardinal in the country’s benefit from the extractive industry, but that it was unfortunate that some mining companies where hiding information on their earnings to benefit themselves.
ZANIS reports that the Luanshya DC was speaking yesterday during the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and extractive industry report sensitization workshop organized by an NGO ‘Publish What You Pay’.
He said government prioritizes the welfare of its people and as such was defining mechanisms which would determine how much the mines where remitting to government to enable citizens claim what belongs to them.
And speaking at the same occasion, PWYP Chairperson Chisomo Phiri said the extractive industries can contribute significantly to Zambia’s economic development and provide opportunities for foreign investment and private sector development.
Mr. Phiri noted that the industry can also generate the much needed government revenues, foreign exchange earnings and quality employment once well harnessed.
He has since called for sensitization on how people can benefit from mineral revenue in mining towns, saying the usage of mining revenues must be made public to promote accountability in the mining sector.
Mr. Phiri however observed that experience has shown that the presence of extractive industries in most parts of the country often breeds underdevelopment, land displacement, violation of human rights, poverty, environmental degradation, health, and social problems, including conflict.
“It is in this regard that the Zambian ‘publish what you pay coalition’ emphasizes that government does not limit their discussion or disagreements on the apportionment of costs
and benefits among stakeholders, but about who counts as a stakeholder and about how
costs and benefits are to be conceived in relation to the now generation and the future”, Mr Phiri said.
He further appealed to government to control the exploitation of natural resources adding that minerals were a diminishing asset and therefore the need to ensure proper utilization of the money realized from the mines.
PWYP campaign is a framework and strategy that contributes to the natural resource accountability agenda.
The workshop was attended by Luanshya Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Chibesa Mulenga, heads of government departments, members of parliament representatives from both Roan and Luanshya central constituencies, former mine workers union officials and the civil society.