MINEWORKERS Union of Zambia has advised the government to exhibit leadership in the mining industry.
MUZ president Joseph Chewe has advised the government not to accept any decision made by any mining company but should stamp its authority.
Briefing the press at Garden Court Hotel in Kitwe on Saturday, MUZ president Joseph Chewe said if the government failed to show authority over the running of mines, the mine owners would start controlling the country’s leadership.
Chewe said the government had been given the mandate to run the country’s affairs and it was important that it made decisions that would benefit everyone in the country.
“The government must stand firm for they have a mandate to run the affairs of this country and on behalf of everyone in this country and to collect taxes from the mines to develop this country,” he said. “Therefore, the onus is on government. We ask them to show authority on the affairs of this country because if they fail, the mines will start ruling and we need taxes from the mines.”
Chewe said it was unacceptable for mining firms to threaten job cuts and halt operations over the newly introduced taxes.
He said every Zambian was being taxed in one way or the other and that the mining sector was not special for it not to pay taxes.
Chewe said the government should not allow Konkola Copper Mines’ proposal to lay-off any worker because mining companies have been asked to table all their problems.
He said no one should tolerate retrenchments from the mines.
Chewe said the copper prices have been favourable and mines should draw their focus in developing their mining areas and upping their production.
He said KCM should strictly focus on mining as their licence indicates and not on importing concentrates as that was not the reason they were in Zambia.
“When investors come into the country, our desire, as the union, is to see the workers’ opportunities being enhanced. We believe that the copper prices of US$6,000 per tonne should suffice to support most of these mining companies and at the same time they can also support the tax measures that the government has taken,” said Chewe. “And our concern is that KCM has indicated that it will cut operations because of the five per cent VAT and I’m sure those who have followed the events in KCM, and the union has been on record advising them to use their mining lincence strictly on mining other than importing concentrates that is not your core business.”