Saturday, June 15, 2024

Government asked to equip gemstone small scale miners

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Emeralds And Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) President Victor Kalesha has appealed to government to ensure that it puts measures that will increase production in the gemstone sub-sector next year.

Speaking in an interview in Kitwe yesterday in response to Minister of Finance Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane’s call for submissions for the 2024 National Budget, Mr Victor Kalesha said government should empower gemstone small scale miners with basic mining equipment so that they all go into full production.

He noted that inclusion of incentives such as exemption of import tax on some mining equipment and financial empowerment in the national budget would help small scale miners increase their production.

He noted that in last year’s budget the government provided some incentives for gemstones value addition but stated that incentives for increased production should come before those for value addition.

“We feel that in the next budget government should consider empowering the areas of production because we cannot go into value addition before we enhance production, so just as it is in the agriculture sector where they give inputs and machinery sometimes, we also need basic equipment so that we can go into good production, many artisanal miners are able to produce more if well equipped with,” Mr. Kalesha said.

He noted that doing so will also help increase government revenue collection from the sector.

He has since encouraged stakeholders from all sectors of the economy to make submissions towards the budget so that the country can have a balanced budget that reflects the needs of all sectors.

And Economist Kelvin Chisanga said some stakeholders may find it difficult to make submissions because of the continued uncertainty in the mining sector and the debt restructuring process.

Mr Chisanga said it will also be difficult for government to work out and run a good national budget with the uncertainties in the debt restructuring process and the delayed unlocking of some major mining companies.

“The longer the debt restructuring process takes, the worse the country’s economic performance will be, however, the general macro-economic environment is looking good and will in due time produce desired growth,” he said.

This week, Minister of Finance and National Planning Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane called for stakeholders to start submitting proposals towards the 2024 National Budget.

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