By Mundia Lubinda (Concerned Supplier and Contractor)
The Government should seriously look at the issues surrounding TradeCorp, a South African company supplying goods to Lumwana Mine in the North Western Province. This company has been given preference in all supply contracts at the expense of our local suppliers. Reports say they want to even incorporate a company in Zambia which will be given authority to choose which supplier they can extend inquiries to. A move that is likely to favour foreign owned businesses or those connected to top management. As of now this is the only company that can submit multiple quotations on a tender while locals usually submit one quote per tender as per standard practice.
We are asking PACRA, Competition Commission, and Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to take interest in this matter. TradeCorp is a company which ships goods through a broker DSV and all invoices are altered by DSV to show that goods were supplied by DSV. DSV is not a supplier but a logistics company, how come they submit an invoice to ZRA for goods supplied by TradeCorp? No wonder Government agencies cannot trace them because they use SDV for imports into Zambia. ZRA must wake up urgently.
ZRA should scrutinize this urgently. Is Lumwana trying to avoid taxes by using TradeCorp/SDV? This is not an issue of cost reduction, this is not the issue of procuring goods and services on a timely basis because TradeCorp are even worse culprits in late deliveries. There is a big cartel, the previous Government was aware about this. We want to make sure that this Government does something urgently. What’s happening is unacceptable and an insult to think that Zambians have no capacity to be engaged in high value procurement at Lumwana Mine.
Just as it is very difficult for Zambians to supply to mines in South Africa, foreign firms should not be allowed to outshine Zambian businesses using underhand methods.
Last time this issue was highlighted by the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors (AMSC), Lumwana Mine rushed to sue the leader of local suppliers and contractors. This time, we want the Government to act urgently and invoke the law and cite Lumwana Chief Executive Officer and the Supply Senior Manager for breach of the Mines and Minerals Act.
It is being reported that now there will be Senior Managers where a line Manager will be reporting to. The new Senior Managers will now be authorizing the issuing of work permits for such positions. Why should Lumwana hire a Manager from South Africa when the country has got some graduates wandering the streets and with proper qualifications?
Also we want to know why a TradeCorp personnel was issued with a work permit to work in supply at Lumwana when we have experienced professionals locally. In short, why would a competitor sit with Judges on the same table? This is not making sense unless something fishy is going on.
Mr President sir, there is unfair competition at Lumwana and if the Government does not do anything, we will arrange mass demonstrations to compel Lumwana to follow the country laws.
The office of the president (OP) should also take interest and investigate. Zambia institute of purchasing and supply should also take interest, because their members are only paper pushers, decisions are made by top Management who are favoring TradeCorp and benefiting South African companies
Mr President, maybe you are not aware, TradeCorp are also transporting all cargo to Lumwana from South Africa via DSV, they have also incorporated a company called Kalonga Logistics which is about to replace a local business registered with Lumwana called Hercules.
It is a crime to sideline Zambians, they have set up cartels in South Africa, most companies there are refusing to quote Zambian suppliers because TradeCorp has entered into agreements with them.
Also Lumwana are sharing significant information to TradeCorp, they are even sharing information on quotes from Zambian companies.
Barrick has the same arrangement with TradeCorp in the DRC, so they want to bring it to Zambia.
Mr President, this will make our party unpopular if not seriously looked at.
The question sir you should ask
1. What exactly do Zambians get out of mining (Lumwana), and how can they get more?
2. What MOU has Lumwana and TradeCorp signed and conditions attached to the MOU which is favouring foreign companies, while disempowering the state, unions, workers and citizens.
3. Why are we issuing Work Permits to foreigners coming to do jobs that can be done by Zambians?