The Centre for Trade Policy and Development has appealed to the Ministry of Mines and Natural Resource Development to give an update on the ongoing Oil and Gas explorations by Britain’s Tullow exploration company.
CTPD Lead on Extractives and Development Mrs. Natalie Kaunda said the Think Tank has noted that since the exploration company was engaged, there has been very limited information flowing through in terms of progress made in this area.
Mrs. Kaunda said CTPD remains keen on finding out how far the Ministry has gone with regards the revision and development of the Act that governs the Oil and Gas sector.
“While we do understand the complexity and nature of the explorations in terms of timings, we think that it would be wise to work around ensuring that the legislation is finalized in a timely manner so as to allow the public and all relevant stakeholders contribute towards shaping the legislation before we get in a phase where we might be talking of extraction possibilities. Admittedly by then Minster of Mines, Mr. Christopher Yaluma when he gave an update on the floor of Parliament, this sector is a new area for this country for which we do not have much capacity,” Mrs. Kaunda said.
She said there is need to develop relevant skills and build the capacity of both the Government and the private sector if Zambia is to develop this sector in a manner that will contribute to the development of the country.
Mrs. Kaunda said this will require more resources and learning from what other countries such as Ghana that has fairly progressive pieces of legislation in place.
“CTPD would like to further appeal to the Ministry responsible for mining to broaden its consultation base if we are to get much from the extractives sector, there is need to improve on the dissemination of information, especially to local communities that are likely to host these extractives investments. We have noted with deep concern from the projects we have been implementing targeting local communities that host mining investments that most of them are left behind when it comes to information in terms exploration activities taking place in their communities, a case in point would include Zambezi and Chavuma Districts, we have learnt that there are a number of exploration activities going on in the districts for various minerals, but few of the local people know.”
She added, “If we are to develop without leaving any one behind as espoused in the 7th National Development Plan, it begins with ensuring that everyone is on the same page information wise.”