By Hicks Sikazwe
Kagem Emerald mine has remitted a higher amount in taxes than what the country raised at the gemstone auctioning exhibition last year.
Acting president Guy Scott, who also hailed the firm for its excellent social responsibility programme said Kagem in 2014 paid $36 million.
Calling on the company to maintain the good levels, Dr Scott revealed in total the emerald outlet, contributed $40 million to the national treasury.
“This is a very good example,” he said when he handed over 71 houses to displaced families in Chief Chiwala’s area near Ndola.
The houses were built by a cement factory, Zambezi Portland whose operations have affected some villagers.
Kagem, a Ndola rural-based emerald mine was further hailed for renovating a clinic in Lufwanyama near Kalulushi and upgrading Chapula Secondary School.
With the above works, Dr Scott said, the company has set high standards in corporate social responsibility, which government hoped would be maintained.
Dr Scott would not however, indicate how much the country raised through the emerald auctioning last year which has been beaten by the Kagem remittance.
Corporate social responsibility among mining companies has in recent years become a hot subject of debate after most mining companies have moderated the facility.
When the mining industry was wholly controlled by the government, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), provided houses, built schools, subsidised water and electricity to employees.
The firm also constructed and maintained roads in townships where it was a mandate to collect and dispose garbage.
Since the mining industry switched largely into private hands, there has been a drop in social responsibility programmes causing an outcry among residents, the government, and opposition leaders.
Recently, Forum for Democratic Development (FDD, President Edith Nawakwi, said there was need to renegotiate with mining companies for equity in the distribution of copper and other mineral wealth.
Ms Nawakwi, who was addressing a company meeting in Solwezi, North Western Province, noted at the moment there was an imbalance in the share, intimating that her government if voted would ensure both mine owners and the people benefitted from the mineral proceeds.
The government has from January 1 2015 reviewed mineral royalty tax on open pit mining from six to 20 percent with a view to improving proceeds from mining firms.
But the increase has sparked fears that the new tax may lead to a drop in business and eventual loss of jobs in the industry.