Mopani Copper Mines Chief Executive Officer Chris Vermeulen has assured a high-level Zambian Government team that three will be no retrenchments as a result of the introduction of the new tax regime for the mining sector.
And Company Chairman and Director Moses Chilangwa has said Mopani’s approach is to dialogue in a mutually respectful atmosphere whenever it had matters to bring to the attention of the Government.
Mr. Chilangwa and Mr. Vermeulen were speaking during a consultative and information exchange meeting with the Government which was held at the Ministry of Finance today.
“At Mopani, we express our long-term commitment to this country because we have a good mine development story. We will make every effort to succeed but we will not retrench workers as we pursue our investment plans,” assured Mr. Vermeulen.
Asked to state the position of the company on jobs at Mopani operations in Kitwe and Mufulira, Mr. Vameulen clarified that any notable number of human resource attritions that may occur will be as a result of the company completing some projects at its sites over the next five years and not because of the new tax regime.
The Mopani team, which also comprised Chief Financial JOHN CHIWELE, Chief Services Officer SENGA CHITOSHI, Tax Manager CHIKUSI BANDA, and Company Secretary GOODWELL MATEYO, also submitted that the Government needs to comprehensively study the impact of the import duty on concentrates from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They stated that constrained access to imported concentrates may have unintended consequences on material blending processes at its smelters in Zambia. In an attempt to value-add and produce a higher grade product, Mopani reported that it blends the locally produced concentrate with that imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
And Mopani Copper Mines Chief Financial Officer JOHN CHIWELE appealed to the Government to consider liquidating the outstanding VAT refunds to the firm.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same consultative and information exchange meeting, Finance Minister MARGARET MWANAKATWE said the Ministry of Finance has strengthened the domestic resource mobilisation drive in order to raise funds that will help the Government to meet investment needs in education, health, agriculture and economic infrastructure development.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe also took the opportunity to express gratitude to Mopani for restating its long-term investment commitment to the country. She added that the Government’s interest was to cordially work with all stakeholders in the economy “in order to strike mutually beneficial relationships and balance.”
The Minister of Finance assured the Mopani delegation that once the drafting was complete, the Government will circulate the Goods and Services Tax [GST] White Paper to THE PUBLIC for analysis and feedback before the final design of the proposed measure is presented to Parliament in form of a bill for debate and consideration.
“At the beginning of April, 2019, GST will kick-in,” said the Minister of Finance.
During a Ministry of Finance senior management annual visioning and milestone setting seminar on economic policy, fiscal affairs and financial management, held at the ministry’s headquarters in Lusaka on Tuesday, 15th January, 2019, Mrs. Mwanakatwe directed the Budget and Economic Affairs Division to continue overseeing the policy engagement and consultation process with stakeholders such as mine houses and called for finalisation of a white paper and draft legislation for the GST.
And commenting at the same consultative and information exchange meeting, Minister of Labour and Social Security JOYCE SIMUKOKO said the progressive stance taken by Mopani not to retrench workers as a result of the new tax regime is a step in the right direction in the relationship between mining firms, the Government and the people of Zambia on whose behalf the treasury seeks to raise funds for socio-economic investments.
The other Government representatives who attended the consultative and information exchange meeting with Mopani were Copperbelt Province Minister JAPHEN MWAKALOMBE, Secretary to the Treasury FREDSON YAMBA, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary for Economic Management and Finance MUKULI CHIKUBA, and Ministry of Mines Director of Planning BERNADETTE MWAKACHEYA.
This is contained in a statement issued to Chileshe Kandeta, the Ministry of Finance spokesperson.