BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
THE five percent import duty on copper concentrates which was recently waived has not yet made a significant impact on the mining sector as most mines had already found other alternatives.
This is according to the Zambia Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer, Sokwani Chilembo.
Mr Chilembo said in an interview that much as some mining companies had started importing the concentrates from the Democratic Republic of Congo, there had been no significant impact.
“There has been some but not as much as we used to have. The basic things is that we have started but it is not anywhere near the level we were.
“Several facilities are not working, there are not working and that is one factor, and also people may have found solutions in the meantime. So we still have to wait and see what the full impact will be,” he said.
Mr Chilembo said Covid-19 related issues had also affected the importation of the copper concentrates from Congo DRC.
He expressed concern that the industry would never be the same as it was before due to many challenges being experienced by the mining companies.
“I do not think we will ever get back to where we were because we have lost some business.
“People have built, it was two years remember? We have to wait and see what the actual means is but we have a tough time ahead,” Mr Chilembo said.
In March this year, Government offered relief to key economic sectors by suspending some taxes to ease pressure caused by Covid-19 on businesses.
Among them was the controversial five percent duty on the importation of concentrates in the mining sector.
During the same month, Mr Chilembo said the suspension had been long overdue and had come at a time when the mining industry is facing cash constraints.
Mr Chilembo complained that Government had taken long to act on the measure.
He said: “It is here and let us see what happens and how the numbers will move next month. I am sure we will see mines importing the concentrates.
“Let us see how quickly the industry can respond being in a cash constrained position, we will see how we can get that going.”