Former Democratic Party interim President Gift Kalumba has said the manner in which the New Dawn Government manages the mining sector will be crucial as the people of Zambia decides the UPND’s fate in the 2026 General Election.
Mr. Kalumba said mining especially in the Copperbelt and North Western Provinces is directly related to the fate of the nation.
The former PF Rhokana Ward Councilor in Kitwe said he expects the UPND Government to properly manage the mining sector and ensure that the people of Zambia start benefiting meaningfully from minerals that include gold, copper and cobalt.
Mr. Kalumba warned that foreign investors come into Zambia to make money and to advance their cause.
He added that the mentality of waiting for foreign investors to run mines will never benefit the people of Zambia.
“Copperbelt mines gate is directly related to UPND fate in 2026.The fate of Copper,Cobalt,Gold and other metals in Mining is directly related to the fate of the Nation Zambia.Those who have followed me over the years will know my stand on the economics of mining in Zambia- been born, lived, benefitted and worked for mines this is a passionate personal concern.Simply put this mentality that we can only run and manage mines if they are owned by foreigners is nothing but disgrace and backward coward bully thought. We have gotten it all wrong by thinking we can make money out of the mines through taxation, appeasement of investors and lobbying. Mr President sir we must by now acknowledge and known through decades of experience and shared knowledge that mine owners so called investors don’t and did not come here to pity us – they came to make money and advance causes that lift their lot, they go all the way to have their Goal achieved just like you politicians go any way to win an election,” Mr. Kalumba said.
“If we are serious about improving our lot then we must adopt a no-nonsense money extraction approach anchored on solid economic principles. This is what I expected to be your Government pre-occupation when you got elected in 2021 but am getting rather concerned. Let sight out one or two important mines in the Copperbelt. The Nkana Mopani Mine comprising North Shaft, Mindola Sub Vertical, Central Shaft and South Ore Body (“SOB”) is expected to last another 25 years as at 1 January 2020 reports and has been operating since 1931 with the oldest operating shaft being Central Shaft. While the length of time the mining has been operating sounds amazing, taxation and a lobbying mentality have only managed to deliver bread- Crumb economic benefits to the people of Nkana and Zambia as all. Mining has simply failed to contribute to sustainable economic development and balanced growth,for a simple reason that every leader that want to lead or gets elected to lead end up been lead by big Conglomerate of Investor which eventually makes them lose track of the critical decision that they planned,” he said.
Mr. Kalumba further proposed ways he thinks can help Zambia scale up benefits from the mining sector.
“How do we come out of this sir? Among many other good reasons my view is simple.We must first understand the options of how people and country’s make money out of a mining operation. These are called “Linkages”. Let me explain.One important type of linkage is a backward linkage-the local or community purchase of inputs. These often include food and catering services, electricity, transportation services, underground water management and raw materials. In turn, the community suppliers of mining inputs purchase their own inputs, which further stimulate community economic activity if purchased within the country. In my view, this is the most practical way we can benefit from mines as a country. It is currently estimated that the Copperbelt and Northwestern provinces combined have over 10,000 small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs” with the capacity to supply all kinds of services to the mines; Forward linkages from mining represent: downstream processing of mineral ores or concentrates, including for instance, smelting, refining, semi-fabrication, fabrication, and manufacture of products; Today we have Gold outbreak we have surgilite pandemic all these need value addition not by foreigners, by locals,” Mr. Kalumba said.
“Final-demand linkages describe the income that miners and their households spend on goods and services produced in the country (e.g., groceries, clothing, entertainment, restaurant meals); This sir is very important to your stay in office, the more people get paid they more your economy remain buoyant and liquid, the purchase power stimulates the production power which in turn creates jobs opportunities and ultimate increase your tax collection, I know you know this already am just saying maybe that is the book we must go read again. Finally, fiscal linkages embody the tax and royalty revenues the government uses to develop infrastructure such as hospitals and schools and to purchase other goods and services, the CDF and ministry expenditures. There thousands of reports that demonstrate how mine owners have used complex tax planning to evade or avoid taxes in our country,sad to note that you and your Government are now Victims of that Complex tax system you have done what failed us, by giving and giving viable mines concessionaire instead of maximize our gains, I know Government is rapidly developing capacity to counter advanced tax planning schemes but we are still far away from achieving the desired results and if are not careful we will end worse that even the time we sold of companies in privatization,” Mr Kalumba continued.
Mr. Kalumba said he was optimistic that in 2021 when people voted the UPND into power their hope and trust was not misplaced.
“In my constituency Nkana or on larger platform let me just say Kitwe we only have the next 25 years to make a lasting impact vise vie mines. Good laws that empower my people have the capacity to outlive and out-perform any well-intentioned acts of charity, leadership or promise speeches. I was optimistic that in 2021 when people voted you their hope and trust was not misplaced, the people of Copperbelt choose hope and systems over charity but like they say optimism is not soft. It is hard and must be stubborn in order to deliver results am hopeful that you will be for assertive on the mine issue this year. We have to elect to fearlessly demand our sovereign rights of proper representation rather than being reduced to recipients of charity handouts from donors and investor. That is a reality that we can no longer allow to happen on account of its catastrophic consequences on our shared humanity. Yes, the underlying dynamics are very complicated; yes, there are many political views on the matter, but we must bring all these factors together to co-create a different reality. We should inject optimism into our efforts, because as for us , optimism is a strategy with which we must face any challenge, because if we don’t believe that we can succeed at something, the only guarantee is that we will fail,” he said.