KCM assertions on mining investments misplaced, Dora
By Staff Reporter
CHIEF Government spokesperson Dora Siliya has dismissed as misplaced, assertions by Vedanta Resources that Government’s decision to part ways with the company over KCM will result in more other mining companies pulling out of the country.
And Siliya has assured that the mealie meal prices are bound to start going down as the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) continues to offload more maize on the market with farmers around the country starting to sell their maize to millers from this year’s harvest.
Meanwhile, Siliya assured that Republican Vice-President Inonge Wina was back in the country, safe and sound, after successfully undergoing medical attention in South Africa.
At her weekly press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Siliya said that contrary to Vedanta’s prophecy of doom as reported in the media, Government was confident that other investors would come up to invest in KCM after Vedanta has left.
Under the custody of Vedanta, KCM had virtually ground to a halt, leaving Government with no option but to end the business partnership with the company in order to safeguard the interest of the company and that of the Zambian people.
Siliya said Vedanta owes Government K3 Billion in taxes compared to K1.9 Billion that Government owes the company in VAT refunds.
“Vedanta owes K3.01b in tax assessments to the people of Zambia while Government owes Vedanta K1.9 b. The figures tell you who is owing more than the other,” she said.
Siliya clarified that contrary to the generally held perception, Government’s decision to liquidate KCM was not meant to shut down the mine. Rather, the aim of the liquidation is purely to end the business partnership with Vedanta and allow Government, through ZCCM-IH to look for another investor with whom to continue running the mine.
“Let me make it clear that the aim of the liquidation is not to shut down the mine but to end the partnership with Vedanta so that we save the interests of the Zambian people in their asset hence the appointment of a liquidator to oversee the running of the company before a new investor is found,” she said.
And Siliya said FRA had enough maize stocks in addition to the upcoming harvest from this year’s farming season. She said this will start having a positive impact by influencing mealie meal prices downwards.
The Minister assured that the matter is receiving Government attention at the highest level.
Siliya has said stakeholders will have a say in the Access to Information (ATI) Bill when it goes to Parliament later during the year.
“The Bill is currently undergoing technical refining at the Ministry of Justice in readiness for submission to Parliament,” she said.