Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo has sounded a strong warning to mining companies over a growing practice to procure most of their services outside Zambia.
And Mr Lusambo has revealed that the Provincial Administration on the Copperbelt will soon launch an investment audit of all mining operations in the province to ascertain the level of fresh investment that has been pumped into the sector since privatization.
Addressing the first media briefing at his office in the year 2018, Mr Lusambo stated that it is unacceptable that mining companies have continued to procure most of their products and services abroad at the expense of local suppliers.
He said the PF government will not tolerate this practice as it believes that Zambian suppliers have now attained the required capacity to service the mines.
Mr Lusambo said foreign suppliers will be required to partner with local suppliers when it comes to certain specialized jobs whose expertise may not be readily available.
“Time has come now to stop this habit of procuring everything outside the country. As Government, we want the mines to give jobs to local suppliers as a way of contributing to growing this economy,” Mr Lusambo stated.
He charged that it is illogical that some foreign owned companies have even domiciled their procurement departments outside the country.
“It is unacceptable for a mining company which mines here in Zambia to house its procurement department outside Zambia. We want to put a stop to this and we expect 100% compliance from our mining companies here on the Copperbelt,” he stressed.
And Mr Lusambo disclosed that in 2018, the Copperbelt Administration will engage the Ministries of Mines and Minerals Development and Commerce, Trade and Industry to carry out a comprehensive investment audit of all mining companies operating in the province.
He said his office has information that most of the mining companies have under invested in their operations, contrary to the investment pledges they made when obtaining their investment licences.
“We will be engaging our colleagues from the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and industry to see the level of fresh investment that has gone into these mines. What we are seeing today is that some of these mines are just mining the Copper waste or slug which was dumped by ZCCM,” Mr Lusambo said.
“As Copperbelt Administration, we see that there has not been any substantial Foreign Direct Investment in some of our mines. Some of these so called investors have not brought any new equipment or technology, they are doing very basic mining by focusing on the dump pit which even my young daughter can do, we will not tolerate such kind of behavior in the province,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Lusambo who was flanked by Provincial Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe warned this office will deal with politically aligned civil servants bent on frustrating government’s developmental agenda.
“As government, we are running a professional civil service and we will not tolerate cadre civil servants in the province. If you don’t support the government of the day, just know that we will flush you out. Bringing partisan politics to the office has potential to frustrate our work as government,” he said.