As Minister of Finance Situmbeko Musokotwane presents the 2022 national budget today, a cross section of stakeholders on the Copperbelt are highly expectant of a budget they say will boost their businesses.
The Small Scale Miners hope that the budget will include adequate funding to the newly created Ministry for Small and Medium Enterprises so that it attends to the financial challenges of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) in the country.
ZANIS reports Chapamo Mineral Resources Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Tembo said , in an interview, that the operations of the Small Scale Miners have for a long time being hindered by limited financial resources and the lack of mining equipment.
“ We would want to see taxes reduced on importation of some mining equipment so that we can buy the needed machinery for us to boost our mining activities to a higher level,” he said.
He reasoned that once SME are empowered the country’s economic structures will further boost production.
And the Kitwe Chamber of Commerce and Trade ( KCCT), on its part expects government to provide financial support to its members to enable them boost their business in the post COVID-19 era.
Chamber president Anthony Kabaghe says the SMEs in the area are historically challenged with financial resources which limits their business opportunities with the mines.
“It is more on the capital side that our members are lacking, if we can capacitate them with financial capital and innovation because things are changing now there is a lot of technology in the industry so we need our members are up to date with this issue so that they can cater for the mines,” Mr Kabaghe said.
And Association of Suppliers and Contractors ( ASC ) expects Minister of Finance Situmbeko Musokotwane to state the way forward on Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) and Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) as these are the life line of the suppliers and contractors on the Copperbelt.
Association President Augustine Mubanga says he feels that there is need to unlock production and investments in the two mines for the earmarked increased production of 3million tonnes of copper per annum.
“We feel government should re-negotiate the agreement it entered into with Glencore at the Mining Giant’s exit, we feel the 1.5 million that government must pay to Glencore is too much, government should re-negotiate it to a fair level and there is also need for the Vedanta Resources issue on KCM to be resolved amicably, the mining giant should be re-called for it to renegotiate its exit so that we find a credible investor for KCM,” Mr Mubanga stated.
He noted that if the two mines are revived more jobs and business opportunities can be created on the Copperbelt.
Mr. Mubanga further suggests that the Mineral royalty tax should be retained to enable government realize some revenue from the mines.
He added that tax on importation of copper concentrates should be increased to promote local copper production while local firms can be allowed to import the concentrates at a zero rated condition.
And the Cross Borders Traders Association expects a budget that will underscore empowerment of cross border traders and elimination of smuggling of good into the country and corruption at border points.
Cross border Traders Association president Charles Kakoma said his members need financial support from the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises.
Minister of Finance Situmbeko Musokotwane is today expected to present the 2022 national budget which is expected to execute the New Dawn government’s campaign promises.