COPPERBELT Show Society chairman Bill Osborne says investor confidence in Zambia at the moment is very low.
And President Edgar Lungu says the country must move away from perceiving mining as a mere source of revenue, and see it as a catalyst for economic transformation. Speaking when President Lungu opened the 58th Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show in Kitwe on Friday, Osborne said investor confidence in the country was very low.
“The changes in the tax regime need to be quickly normalised to restore investor confidence. The mining industry is low at the moment due to the low copper prices and the escalating cost of production. There is need to control cost and address the high electricity cost which can kill the industry,” Osborne said.
And President Lungu said the consequences of focusing on mining as a mere source of revenue was evident in Zambia.
“My government’s role is to ensure that there are synergies between the mining sector and the rest of the economy. Let me assure investors, both local and foreign, that we are committed to putting in place measures that will create an enabling environment for investment. A good thriving economy is good for all of us. Investment is key in the process of transforming natural resources into wealth for the benefit of our people,” President Lungu said.
He further said there was need to redouble efforts to ensure effective transformation of the economy away from dependence on mining and agriculture in order to have a fully diversified economy that could withstand internal and external shocks prevalent in single commodity markets.
President Lungu said this would consequently have beneficial impact not only on revenue for the government but also employment creation as well as business development.
“My government has a mandate to build a strong and sustainable economy in order to improve the welfare of our people. I call upon all investors to partner with government to create a vibrant economy that will benefit everyone,” President Lungu said.
He further said the volatility in copper prices on the international market threatened its contribution to economic growth.
President Lungu said it was in this regard his government had taken steps to diversify the economy in order to reduce dependence on mining.
He said agriculture was one of the key sectors identified to trigger growth, which, if properly managed, could contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth.
“The agricultural sector supports the livelihoods of over 70 per cent of our people, particularly in the rural areas. It is for this reason that the sector holds the greatest potential for economic growth. Government’s vision is to have a sustainable agricultural sector that contributes to food and nutrition security, creation of decent jobs, and overall economic growth,” said President Lungu.