Zambia, Africa’s leading copper producer has challenged the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member countries to find ways of extracting maximum revenue collection from foreign mining companies, its Vice President, Dr. Guy Scott says.
It is of no benefit, Scott says, for African countries to allow huge mining foreign investment when their countries were not benefiting from their resources, local media reported. Speaking when he officiated at the opening of the round table meeting for COMESA mine and commerce ministers and the Government of Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett and his delegation in Lusaka.
He urged the 19 COMESA member States to enhance the promotion of local content in mining industry as a way of increasing revenue collection, wondering why some countries were still importing products from other countries at a huge expense when such products or materials could be produced locally.
Zambia was largely depended on the export of copper and it would continue doing so despite the prices fluctuating. During the same meeting, Barnett urged African countries not to allow foreign investors to export their mineral resources without paying. His country, he added, stood ready to help COMESA member countries in benefiting from the trade with his country.
During the meeting, the Government of Western Australia and COMESA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build a close and mutually beneficial relationship with 19 African nations. The agreement signed by Barnett and COMESA secretary general Sondiso Ngwenya was aimed at sharing knowledge and technology between the Government of Western Australia and COMESA States across the fields of mining, petroleum and agriculture.
The agreement also aims at promoting investment in vocational training and higher education across the resources and agriculture sectors.
Zambia’s Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma at the same occasion, said the agreement was another stride in trying to ensure that mining contributed to sustainable development in COMESA countries.
Yaluma said it was time Africa and the region started moving towards implementing measures that would ensure the utilisation of mineral resources to industrialise and create wealth for member States.
And Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Gender and Child Development Ester Banda has challenged mining companies to partner with other investors in value addition ventures in the established multi-facility economic zones (MFEZs) to boost Zambia’s economy.
Banda says MFEZs should be used as a focal point in establishing other industries in value addition to mineral resources. MFEZs have been established in Lusaka and Chambishi on the Copperbelt province.
Banda, who is also a lawmaker in Zambia noted that the increased mining activities in the country require other industries or joint ventures in the value addition chain, she adds. “Mining companies on the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces should consider partnering with other investors in value addition ventures for the country to get high value out of its mineral resources,” she told local media.
Mining in Zambia still remains the major economic contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country and it was for that reason why there should be more industries created to bring about economic growth that will benefit the people of Zambia.