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Nundwe asks IDC to explain ZAFFICO listing

COPPERBELT permanent secretary Bright Nundwe has told ZAFFICO and IDC management to explain fully the alleged listing of the company on the Lusaka Stock Exchange.

In November 2018, ZAFFICO workers and Saw-millers protested the decision by the government to list the company on the stock market and a possible take-over by the Chinese.

Opening the ZAFFICO pole treatment plant in Kalulushi in February 2018, President Edgar Lungu assured saw millers that the interest of the local people would be taken care of.

“As chairman of IDC, I’m not going to sell ZAFFICO but instead will ask the Workers Compensation Fund Control Board to invest in ZAFFICO should funds be needed to meet the expansion programme,” President Lungu said.

On October 31, Saw Millers Association of Zambia president William Bwalya expressed concern over developments at ZAFFICO.

“We all clapped for him [President Lungu]. Six months later, ZAFFICO will divest its shares on the Lusaka Stock and Securities. What has gone wrong, Mr President? The government move to divest ZAFFICO shares on the Lusaka Stock and Securities according to the 2019 budget is not well received by saw millers. ZAFFICO is a success story of Zambian parastatal companies and has continued to record profits and has continued to pay dividends. They are replanting trees and are expanding their spheres of influence,” Bwalya said then.

“Listing of shares for sale at a stock market is selling of shares. It is reaching our offices that government has picked the Chinese to come and buy these shares disregarding the ZAFFICO customers who have been taking their money to this company for more than 20 years, making it viable, liquid and flowing. These customers have not been considered in the sale of ZAFFICO.”

ZAFFICO acting managing director Manuel Mutale and IDC chief investment officer Muhindu Kasongola on Thursday, paid a courtesy’ call on Nundwe.

Nundwe asked ZAFFICO and IDC to explain what listing of shares was for the general public.

“We are told that ZAFFICO had been sold. What is the truth that is what the Zambians want to hear, we can ignite more fire that ZAFFICO had been sold. Explain to the people on the Copperbelt what is this listing, especially to the saw millers on the Copperbelt. You have not done much on the Copperbelt to explain this,” Nundwe said.

“Explain vividly what this listing is. What are the benefits. We will fail to stop the fire because of the issue of listing.”

But Kasongola said the buying of shares would be restricted to local people.

“We will not allow foreigners to buy shares. This is purely to the Zambians only. We will give priority to the saw millers to buy shares in ZAFFICO,” Kasongola said.

“It is ordinary Zambians that will buy shares from the 40 per cent. So the listing will be done towards the end of January 2020. ZAFFICO will be listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange.”

ZAFFICO and IDC have since started the engagement with the saw millers to explain the process of listing of shares on LuSE.

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