President Edgar Lungu says government will do everything possible to help women in small scale mining upscale and mechanize their operations in order to contribute to socio-economic growth in the country.
President Lungu observed that women eking out a living in small scale mining have potential to eradicate poverty in rural areas of the country.
The Head of State said this yesterday when he held an interactive discussion with a team from the Association of Zambian Women in Mining (AZWIM) at State House in Lusaka.
President Lungu observed that though government is diversifying from mining to Agriculture and Tourism, there is need to support small scale mining activities by women as they are key in improving home economies.
President Lungu further directed all Foreign Missions not to be selective in helping Zambians promote trade and investments.
The President warned that staff at foreign missions risk being fired for not willing to help Zambian businesses and nationals including the opposition whether on private business or not.
The President stressed that Zambian embassies abroad exist to help Zambians engage in socio-economic activities and cement bilateral relations with the respective countries they are based.
President Lungu directed Trade Attaches at Zambian embassies must work to help facilitate trade and link up the activities of Zambian women in small scale mining to international markets.
The President also directed the Ministry of Mines and State House to ensure that they review the mining taxation regime for women in small scale mining to help the sector grow and sustain its operations.
President Lungu assured the women that government will seek ways to empower the women from existing financial arrangements such as through the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) and the recently launched Zambia Commercial and Industrial Bank.
And speaking earlier, Secretary General of AZWIM Pauline Mundia complained that most Zambian missions abroad have not been helpful to her association in facilitating trade with interested customers.
Pastor Mundia said her association has in the past lost out on business on account of Zambian missions failing to assist them facilitate trade abroad.
The Women in mining also appealed to President Lungu to intervene in the high taxation which is choking their business operations and sustainability.
Pastor Mundia also urged government to help establish a one stop Market Centre for sale of minerals and emeralds by women small scale miners.
The women miners told the president that they want government to build their capacity so that they can they increase production and add value additions to the base minerals and emeralds.