Four Senior Citizens have accused mining firms of extorting the country’s mineral wealth in preference of enriching their respective countries .
They said during a courtesy call on President Edgar Lungu yesterday at State House in Lusaka where they discussed a number of key socio-economic issues in the country.
Veteran politician and freedom fighter Sikota Wina, former ZCCM Chairman Francis Kaunda, former Minister in the MMD regime Peter Machungwa and Mr Yotam Kacham jointly charged that mine companies were under declaring production and not paying the requisite and appropriate corporate tax.
Spokesperson for the quartet, Mr Kaunda charged that mining firms were secretly and illegally mining gold, cobalt, platinum and other precious minerals which they are selling on the international market for their own benefit.
“ Government ( should therefore ) to engage Zambian experts and undertake a mineral audit in the country to determine how much the country is losing out from its mineral wealth and verify claims by mines that they are not making profits, “ he said.
The former ZCCM chairman said it is not right for mining firms to be rejecting feasible mine tax regimes from government adding that it should thoroughly ensure that ordinary Zambians benefit from the country’s mineral wealth.
And Dr Machungwa on his part urged government to find better ways of financing the education of underprivileged people in the country.
“ The rising number of private universities entails that there is an increasing number of deserving vulnerable pupils and students who are not accessing bursaries and scholarships, “ he said.
Mr Yotam Chikamba paid glowing tribute to President Lungu for ensuring that peace and unity is maintained in the country and that national dialogue is upheld.
He said there is need for all stakeholders to cherish and work for the peace the country continues to enjoy 55 years after independence.
Meanwhile, Mr Sikota Wina said senior citizens in the country are happy with the leadership and governance track record of President Lungu and urged him to continue embracing Zambians.
And President Lungu assured the senior citizens that government will take into account their concerns over alleged malpractices by mining firms in the country.
The Head of State said Education for all Zambians is among the top items on his development agenda saying education is cardinal in providing a cadre of qualified and professional workforce to run the various key sectors of the economy.
He said competing needs have always derailed government’s intention of rolling out education for all.
President Lungu also disclosed that he has instructed the Secretary to Cabinet to review the way freedom fighters in the country are being looked after.
The President said he wants the welfare of Zambia’s freedom fighters improved due to the immense efforts they made in attaining freedom for the country.
He said Cabinet Office will have to identify genuine freedom fighters around the country so that government can look after them with the respect they deserve.
The senior citizens afterwards presented a bible to President Lungu to guide him in governing the country.