NDC Copperbelt chairman George Sichula says the sale of Mopani to ZCCM IH will only benefit the PF and not the Zambian people.
State-owned ZCCM-IH has acquired 90 per cent of Glencore’s shareholding in Mopani Copper Mines Plc to wholly own the mine at a consideration of $1.5 billion to be paid through a variety of financing schemes that include a percentage of the future gross revenues as well as a percentage of the future net profit for specific periods.
The financing schemes include the purchase of Mopani copper output by Glencore at a predetermined rate per metric tonne whereby the difference between the predetermined rate and the price of copper on the London Metal Exchange will go towards liquidating the $1.5 billion debt.
Commenting on the transaction announced last week, Sichula said it was a joke that the PF government that had been failing to finance councils would be able to run the mines.
He said every right thinking Zambian was fully aware that ZCCM-IH was broke and could not sustain the operations of Mopani.
“We all know that it requires enough capital injection to run the mines. Just imagine! This Mopani move is purely a political gimmick, though a smart one by the PF,” he said.
Sichula noted that the PF government feels unsafe to get into August elections with a burden of unemployment among the youths and therefore desperately want to create ‘quick jobs’ at Mopani to temporarily employ youths for the purposes of winning imminent elections.
He, however, said, “But be assured that everyone who will be employed at Mopani between next month and September will be fired in December this same year because the government has no money. Already this government is failing to pay foreign and local debts.”
Further, Sichula warned that the people of the Copperbelt must learn from Kabwe residents who have a similar experience where Mulungushi Textiles only opens in election years and closes immediately after voting.
“These are some of the tools the PF uses to entice weak voters, but not this time. And if I may ask, what has changed? We have a history of the government failing to run the mines. A lot of companies have died at the hands of the government. I hope you will not give it to your cadres to mismanage it like you have done to KCM,” said Sichula.