The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) have described the looming job cuts at Mopani Copper Mine on the Copperbelt, as disastrous and a big blow to strides made in reducing poverty levels in the country.
CSPR Executive Director Partrick Nshindano wondered why every time there is a proposal in changing the fiscal revenue policy, there is usually some resistance from the mining sector.
ZANIS reports that Mr Nshindano has since advised government to find alternative equity partners that can be engaged to operate the mining sector for the benefit of the Zambian citizenry.
He explained that what government should do is not to solely own the industry but to have a significant number of shares to control in order to protect the interest of the miners.
He added that there is need for government to increase its stake in the operations of all the mines in the country so that in an event that a mining company decides to abruptly pull out, it will be easy for government to continue with operations without disturbing the welfare of workers.
Mr Nshindano told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka yesterday, that this will also give an opportunity for government to tap into the resources in terms of getting accurate information on the gains that the country accrues.
He pointed out that there is need to also realign the mining sector and ensure that it makes the correct contributions to the country as its main economic stay.
He stated that despite it being a difficulty decision to make as it will come with challenges which will only be for a short term, government should concentrate on the long term benefits which will result in making the industry sustainable and more viable to job creation and poverty reduction among households.
The CSPR Executive Director further called on the mines to pay a fair share of taxes by giving correct information on how much they make and how much are they contributing to the country’s revenue collection.
Mr Nshindano expressed concern that currently, despite mining being the country’s economic earner, the sector is still one of the industries that make a low contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at only about four percent as at 2018.
About 2,100 mine workers are going to lose jobs following the announcement by Mopani Copper Mines to close its Mindola North and Central shafts in Kitwe.