Government seeks to enhance the growth of the extractive industry by taking bold decisions that will benefit the Zambian people from the country’s mineral wealth as adopted by the Government when it ascended to power in 2011.
President Michael Sata noted that although there have been some pockets of ‘resistance and resistance’ from some people that had argued that the Government was not performing to its expectations-over two years after ascending to power, the Government is committed to bettering the lives of its people and ensure it extracts huge benefits from the country’s natural resources.
In his recent posting on the Face book page, President Sata justified the auctioning of gemstones and other minerals locally, stating that many pessimists objected and labelled him ‘dreamer’ when the government announced the development.
“On the insistence of our government, Kagem Mines Plc. conducted three auctions in 2013. The first auction was held in April 2013 and 6.3 million carats of low grade emeralds were sold at a value of US$15.2 million. Its second auction was held from July 15-19, 2013 and 583,448 carats of high grade emeralds valued at US$31.5 million were sold,” President Sata said.
The President then contended that the auction was the second highest auction revenue achieved to date and the best in terms of value per carat sold.
“You may wish to know that all the 583,448 carats placed on offer were sold and the average per carat price of US$54 set a new record. The third auction was held from November 11-15, 2013 and a total of US$16.4 million was realised from the low grade auction.”
The successful outcome of the three auctions had shown that Zambia had the ability to hold these auctions locally and maximise revenue which might have been understated through various manipulations, the President added while justifying his Government’s decision to revert to local auction floors unlike abroad.
“It is my sincere belief that selling and auctioning of gemstones locally will create employment, enhance value addition through cutting, polishing and jewellery making activities as well as enhance revenue collection as a result of proper monitoring mechanisms,”
Considering the successful auctioning, the Government was now considering recapitalizing the holding company, ZCCM IH to ensure maximum benefits are realized to better the people’s welfare.
“Going forward, our government will re-capitalise the ZCCM-IH with K275 million to add value to our country’s various gemstones by cutting and polishing among others in line with the PF manifesto. We are determined to extract huge benefits for our people from our God-given resources.” And the President has contended that his Patriotic Front Government has fulfilled its campaign promises to promote value addition to Zambia’s gemstones and other minerals as adduced by the bold decision to auction gemstones and other minerals locally which he said has benefitted the country.
This he said in his update titled: ‘The benefits of taking bold decisions’.
According to the President during his campaign for office, he had insisted that once elected, he would promote value addition to Zambia’s gemstones and other minerals. “During my campaign for office, I insisted that as President of Zambia I will ensure that we start auctioning our gemstones and other minerals locally,” he said.
At a recent auction floor of rough emerald by Kagem on behalf of its holding company, Gemfields, the company realised US$36 million, described as the highest since returning to the local auction.