Ndoyi says the government was baby sitting mining companies at the expense of the majority poor Zambians
The political commentator has challenged government to reintroduce windfall tax as an alternative for Zambians to benefit from their vast mineral wealth.
Ndoyi says the refusal by Mopani Mines to pay the revised electricity tariffs was unacceptable and immoral especially that poor Zambians are paying without protesting.
He said the crisis at Mopani is the first true test of Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo’s leadership abilities.
“Government including some governments in the past have been babysitting these mining companies, treating them with kids gloves for far too long than we can no longer take. ITS TIME FOR WINDFALL TAX, the Copper prices are booming, conditions are ripe.
“We must never forget that, anywhere in the world, the wealth in the ground belongs to its citizen. Now that’s a bit mushy for a hard-nosed businessman, but that’s the reality and that’s where the expectations arise. If you may recall prior to the 2011 Election, late PF President Michael Sata a day before elections said that, “after tomorrow, you must say no to poverty, after tomorrow you must say no to unemployment, what we want is Zambia for Zambians, people are making money over our heads.” If these words remain true to the Patriotic Front government then we must strike while the rod is red hot.”
He noted that the mines have been abusing the relationship between them and government.
“Our relationship with the mines have proven to be abusive as it is a one sided friendship hell bent on exploiting us, even refusing to pay for electricity at competitive tariffs.
“These same mines were adequately consulted and now want to embarrass the government, a govt which has upwardly adjusted electricity tarrifs for an ordinary Zambian business owner. My view is as the prices of copper and other metals continue to boom on the world market, the country needs to benefit as well.” He said.
Ndoyi adds that the PF was put in office for the poor people and promised to deport abusive foreign investors.
“The Patriotic Front (PF) we all know, must put an end to this, they promised during elections to deport foreign investors that exploit their workforce, increasing corporate taxes and limiting foreign ownership of mines, and Zambians spoke clearly and loudly through the elections and they must reflect seriously on our concerns.
“Whilst we have made important macroeconomic gains, admittedly the standard of living of the majority of Zambians remains poor, hence we can’t entertain any job losses from the mines. Prior to privatisation of the mines, World Bank and IMF continued to preach to the Zambian Government that, in order to bring in investment, the country would have to make itself more attractive than its neighbours and competitors by developing an ‘investor-friendly’ regulatory regime.”
He accused the World Bank and the IMF of using the country’s dependence on the two institutions to pass laws that have weakened government control on the mines
“The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have used Zambia’s dependence on them for aid and debt relief to pass laws– principally the Investment Act and the Mining and Minerals Act, withdrawing many of the controls the state had previously established on the behaviour of companies.
“While significant investments have poured in since, it is far from clear that all investors have chosen to take note of those of the country’s laws that do still apply to them – or indeed to honour the commitments they make in the Development Agreements.
“Some investors have taken advantage of the fact that Zambian state institutions are too weak to effectively regulate their behaviour. The state itself also seems to have developed political relationships with certain mining houses that mean health and safety, labour, immigration and environmental regulations can be ignored with impunity, causing significant resentment for foreign investors.”