BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
THERE will be no loss of jobs at our sites as a result of the new tax regime, Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) acting chief executive Officer, Venkatesan Giridhar has said.
KCM has become the second mining giant company to assure Government of the safety of jobs at its operation sites after Mopani.
Mr Giridhar explained that the mine’s actions were designed to sustain and create jobs, grow the economy, and contribute more to the country’s treasury while effectively implementing its asset and liability management programme.
He was speaking during the consultative and information exchange meeting held at the Ministry of Finance Headquarters in Lusaka on Monday.
“I wish to confirm, therefore, that there will be no loss of jobs at our sites as a result of the new tax regime. As KCM, we undertake to constructively engage key stakeholders such as the Government, trade unions, the media, local communities, and our shareholders, in a respectful manner to ensure that we contribute to the growth of the economy on a sustained basis,” Mr. Giridhar said.
KCM had since applauded Government’s on-going initiative aimed at regular engagement with the private sector in the quest to achieve sustained economic growth, wealth creation for all players in the economy, and the well-being of citizens.
The Copperbelt based mining giant had also commended the Government for its open door policy and affirmed that Vedanta and KCM’s approach was to resolve matters on the premise of constant dialogue and in a respectful and mutually beneficial manner.
Speaking at the same function, Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe said the assurance made by KCM to complete the development of long-term ventures such as the Konkola Deep Mining Project within the next three to six years was uplifting and a good sign that the firm would finally get rid of its loss-making image.
Mrs Mwanakatwe sthanked KCM for choosing the path of dialogue and for the proactive approach in reviewing mine operations, ensuring compliance, sustaining job creation, and contributing to the country’s growth.
She took the opportunity to re-affirm the Government’s focus on domestic resource mobilization, adding that the drive is aimed at raising revenue for investment in social sectors, productivity ventures, and infrastructure development.
The Minister appealed to KCM to implement the commitment made in the meeting to timely pay local suppliers.
She expressed concern that the upward trend in imported concentrates in contrast to the downward trend in locally mined concentrates was a worrying scenario that creates the impression that KCM has been focusing more on trading than local mine development.
And Minister of Labor and Social Security Joyce Simukuko, requested KCM to remain firmly committed to nurturing mutual trust in its relationship with other stakeholders and compliant with all applicable operational and labour laws.
Mrs Simukoko said mining companies need to ensure that the Government policy on minimum wages for all their operational units and sub-contractors, is complied with unfailingly.