Mopani praised for saving jobs, but…

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FRANCIS CHIPALO writes

@SubZambian

MOPANI Copper Mines has been hailed for pledging job security to miners  when other companies are threatening to cut jobs and leave the country.

Reacting to Mopani reaction yesterday, Mine Contractors and Allied Workers Union of Zambia , general secretary,  Mr Levi Chimfwembe hailed the move but advised the mining company to pay the contractors .

He said, while the move was positive, the company needed to do more to ensure that contractors were also paid. He  claimed the mining company had cut contracts of contractors, an issue which he said,  needed to be rectified.

On Friday, Mopani Copper Mines pledged not to enforce retrenchments as as a result of the introduction of the new mining sector tax regime.

Company chief executive officer, Chris Vamuelen,  made the assurance  at a meeting with government officials at the Ministry of Finance.

His assurance follows concerns from the member of the public that the mining industry will retrench workers to remain in business due to the new tax regime.

Mr Vameulen clarified that any notable number of human resource attritions that may occur will be as a result of the company completing some projects at its sites over the next five years and not because of the new tax regime.

He was accompanied by company chief Financial John Chiwele, Chief Services Officer Senga Chitoshi, Tax Manager Chikusi Banda, and Company Secretary Goodwell Mateyo.

“At Mopani, we express our long-term commitment to this country because we have a good mine development story. We will make every effort to succeed but we will not retrench workers as we pursue our investment plans,” assured Mr. Vermeulen.

And Mopani Copper Mines Chairman and Director Moses Chilangwa said Mopani’s approach was to dialogue in a mutually respectful atmosphere whenever it had matters to bring to the attention of the Government.

Speaking at the same consultative and information exchange meeting, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, said her ministry had strengthened the domestic resource mobilisation drive to raise funds that would help Government meet investment needed for development.

Ms. Mwanakatwe also took the opportunity to express gratitude to Mopani for restating its long-term investment commitment to the country. She added that the Government’s interest was to cordially work with all stakeholders in the economy

The Minister of Finance assured the Mopani delegation that once the drafting was complete, the Government will circulate the Goods and Services Tax White Paper to the public for analysis and feedback before the final design of the proposed measure is presented to Parliament in form of a bill for debate and consideration.

“At the beginning of April, 2019, GST will kick-in,” said the Minister of Finance.

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