Saturday, November 27, 2010

(HERALD) Biti raps retailers over high profit margins

Biti raps retailers over high profit margins
Herald Reporter

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has rapped retailers over high profit margins saying this creates inflationary pressures, warning that this may force Government to institute preventive measures. Minister Biti said it was astonishing that local retailers were putting profit margins of between 20 and 30 percent on products.
"The retail sector is refusing to rid itself of the old habit of the hyperinflationary era.

"I would like to warn you that you are inviting yourselves the old sticks (price controls, setting and monitoring) that used to beat you up," he said.

The Finance Minister made the remarks at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries post-Budget breakfast meeting yesterday.

Minister Biti said profit margins of between 9 and 15 percent were realistic.

"You must know that the money is real, operations are real and the currency is real. You cannot have margins of 30 percent."

He castigated retailers who have increased prices ahead of the festive season to cash in on annual bonuses and 13th cheques.

Annual inflation stood 3,6 percent for November down from 4,2 percent in October.

Annual inflation is projected to close the year at 4,8 percent, which is within the acceptable regional average of 4,7 percent. Inflation is the rate of increase in the price of goods and services over a given period.

Minister Biti said the spate of price increases was not based on any justifiable change in economic fundamentals.

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(HERALD) 2011 Budget under threat

2011 Budget under threat
By Zvamaida Murwira

MEMBERS of the House of Assembly have threatened to block passage of the 2011 National Budget if Finance Minister Tendai Biti does not agree to pay legislators and ministers US$3 000 monthly salaries.

The legislators from Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations were on Thursday united in their declaration. Sitting soon after Minister Biti presented his Budget, the legislators also said the Government should buy them new vehicles.

They said should salaries be raised to US$3 000, it would cost the State US$12 million per year, a figure they described as sustainable.

MPs currently earn around US$400 and the legislators say they have not been getting their sitting allowances.

Analysts have previously indicated that should the Budget not be passed, Presi-dent Mugabe might have to call general elections because the State will not be able to function.

Mwenezi East legislator Cde Kudakwashe Bhasikiti (Zanu-PF) moved the motion calling for the improvement of their welfare as well as that of civil servants.

The House unanimously adopted the motion, saying they would not be used as a rubberstamp for Bills from the Executive without interrogating them.

They said their welfare had over the years been overlooked and the only opportunity they had to flex their muscles was at a time like this when Minister Biti wanted them to pass the Budget.

On civil servants, they said teachers were relying on parents’ incentives.

Goromonzi North MP Cde Paddy Zha-nda (Zanu-PF),said Minister Biti’s perceived 8 percent economic growth had nothing to do with poverty alleviation.

"I want to appeal to Honourable Members that opportunity knocks on your door once in your lifetime and this opportunity that is before us today — we should not miss it.

"This is the last (Budget) knowing very well that next year there will be elections; we will be walking into poverty.

"We are our own liberators," said Cde Zhanda.

"It is common cause that if you want to control people, what you do first is to impoverish them then you subject them; this is what is happening."

On vehicles, he said many MPs were now pedestrians.

Cde Zhanda said like those in the executive and judiciary, legislators should have a personal and an official vehicle.

Failing to pay civil servants, he warned, would fan corruption.

"We have pretended to put up institutions that have not delivered at all — the Anti-Corruption Commission which has never prosecuted anybody despite various allegations of corrupt practices.

"Why is it difficult to do business in Zimbabwe?

"It’s because you are knocking on the door of a permanent secretary who earns US$200 with a US$10 million project, it does not make sense.

"In actual fact our situation scares away investors."

He urged legislators to rise above party politics to push for the improvement of their welfare.

MP for Zaka Central Mr Harrison Mudzuri (MDC-T) said a government was judged by how it paid its workers.

He said the salaries they were earning were not consistent with the title "Honou-rable".

His colleague from Uzumba, Cde Simba Mudarikwa (Zanu-PF), said failing to adequately pay MPs and civil servants would promote institutionalised corruption.

"We have inherited a situation that is very difficult . . . that people who were members of this august House always used to say ‘yes’.

"They were professional rubber stampers," he added.

Buhera Central representative Mr Tangwara Matimba (MDC-T) chipped in: "We are saying this Government should look more into the plight of civil servants, MPs and everybody who works for it instead of giving priority to foreign trips and parastatals that are getting broke, that are being siphoned by others in the executive.

Mhondoro MP Cde Bright Matonga (Zanu-PF) said the title "Honourable" came with a status that he said was not consistent with their salaries.

He said legislators had nothing to show to their families for spending so much time away from home.

"It is actually leaving a trail of destruction in our family fabrics and relationships," he said.

Minister Biti’s Budget proposals included US$1,4 billion for State workers’ salaries.

This is about double the US$733 million allocated to this end in 2010.

In his US$2,7 billion Budget Statement, Minister Biti said conditions of service for MPs and the judiciary — which have traditionally guided negotiations encompassing civil servants representatives — will now be determined by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee and provisions of the Judicial Services Act respectively.

Zimbabwean legislators say they earn far less than their colleagues from around the world, and often cite the example of Kenyan MPs who are said to have gross salaries of above US$10 000.

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(HERALD) Interfin Bank secures 335 000 tonnes fertiliser

Interfin Bank secures 335 000 tonnes fertiliser
Agriculture Reporter

Interfin Bank has secured 335 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and compound C fertilisers worth US$230 000 for smallholder tobacco farmers who are members of the newly formed Zimbabwe Progressive Tobacco Farmers’ Union. The inputs will be accessed on a loan basis and farmers will repay through stop orders after selling their crop.

Unveiling the inputs in Harare yesterday, Interfin’s assistant general manager (corporate banking), Mr Ennocent Chidawanyika, said: "We have put aside US$2 million to be disbursed in batches for the procurement of more inputs.

"It will all depend on the performance of the farmers, but as a bank we are convinced it is a noble cause to help them."

The bank will soon procure another 1 320 tonnes of fertiliser and make available US$105 000 for the ZPTFU’s executive to buy vehicles to ease mobility challenges.

Mashonaland West will receive 90 000 tonnes, Mashonaland Central (120 000), Mashonaland East (95 000) and Manicaland (20 000). Altfin Insurance has provided the farmers with policies. Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu — who is the ZPTFU patron — challenged other companies to emulate Altfin and Interfin’s example and assist farmers.

He, however, warned that unscrupulous international organisations were infiltrating farmers’ organisations with funding so that they could control them and influence them against Government. "We are going to expose such organisations and if there are locals working with them, then they should cease to be bedfellows immediately," said Minister Shamu.

He said some merchants were ripping off smallholder tobacco farmers by buying their tobacco for a song and reselling it at higher prices. "In order to stop this, ZPTFU needs to engage tobacco experts and ethical companies to participate in value addition, which will benefit members as shareholders.

"ZPTFU should come up with plans to get into the cigarette manufacturing industry."

He called for agricultural mechanisation to improve production. ZPTFU was formed at President Mugabe’s behest when he visited the tobacco auction floors earlier this year and witnessed farmers’ plight at the hands of merchants.

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(HERALD) Southern Africa: Waking up to the ownership ethic

Southern Africa: Waking up to the ownership ethic
LADIES and Gentlemen, all protocols observed!

I have just gone through Minister Biti’s budget "statement". I am immediately struck by the term "statement" when set against the 252-paged tome the Honourable Minister gave us yesterday. I immediately remembered his brotherly advice to me only a few moons back: keep it short and less verbose.

Well taken, Honourable Minister and hey, let’s be jolly buddies in our quest for brevity and simplicity, you and me. It’s an arduous task to catch both, is it not Tendai? I felt pity for ZBC/TV. How do you capsulize a two-and-half hour presentation, much of it loose and unconnected?

Cabral in vain

I read through the statement, not once, not twice, but three times. I will reveal to the Honourable Minister what it is that sustained my interest. It was the prefatory quote from Amilcar Cabral, and for the benefit of those who might not have seen the budget "statement", the quote read: "Always bear in mind that people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head.

They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children." The gentle reader may recall that Minister Biti and I have had a robust argument where African revolutionary scholars like Cabral, Nabudere and Fanon have been summoned from their graves, if only to mediate and broker peace and harmony lost between us.

That is the background and the sight of a Cabral quote immediately excited my curiosity. Apart from the sheer cogency of the thought in the quote, I was curious to see how this political homily if not edict, would relate to what Minister Biti, obviously strictured by both means and protocol, related to the Finance Minister’s presentation.

I am aware of another important injunction from one of these philosopher-fighters, prescriptively asserting that radical parties must govern as liberation movements in power if they are to remain true to the African cause. Was the minister about to take forward this major precept of African politics, I wondered, voraciously seeking to discover it all through an intimate reading of his statement. Would he deign take that Mugabe path, and still retain the respect of America and Britain? Would he?

Biti’s cactus land

I ploughed through verbose paragraphs, giant figures and ornate graphs, all to see where Cabral stood validated, all to see where "people" would cull "material benefits" to live better and in peace, to see "their lives go forward", indeed to make and guarantee a future for their children. I read. I re-read. I re-re-read.

Minister, I am sorry I miss Cabral. I miss his re-incarnate, whether in you or in your document, itself an erudite chastisement of the revolutionary by a young elder, standing akimbo atop the anthill of the Washington Consensus. I read again, re-read again and again and sorry, I discovered, to great dismay, that beneath the surplice of Amilcar Cabral lay the cassock and holy heart of Archbishop Adam Smith, with his dutiful acolyte called Friedman.

Not John Maynard Keynes and his gospel of state interventionism by way of nudging the whole market towards desired full employment and other social goals. I have since concluded that in Minister Biti’s 2010 budget, Africa’s revolutionary pontiff called Cabral gets toppled, while Adam Smith — capitalist Europe’s own high priest — stands tall and erect, well firmly in place, well ensconced in the saddle of the Inclusive Government.

Murambiwa or George Soros?

In our case there are core issues you inevitably deal with when debating our people and their quest for material benefits and secure futures for their children: has the land come and is it secured as a productive asset; who owns and controls the economy and what room is there for the indigenous people; who runs decisions and how do these impact on the welfare of the people; above all who owns the State, itself a final arbiter on the social question. In whose interest does the State function? Who is the main character in its budget, Murambiwa or George Soros?

When the soil speaks.

These are core questions and I may come back to that matter, possibly next week. But let one point be made here and now: in Africa, a dead man’s word has the aura of law. Ivhu rinoreva, the soil speaks and whoever contravenes its will stands to suffer, brings misery not just to himself and his immediate family, but to the whole community.

We do not recall the thoughts of our dear departed in vain, still less to defeat those very thoughts by pretending to be guided by them. Honourable Minister, yours was a very poor way at preemptive radicalism. Indeed, the people do not fight for ideas like democracy, good governance, transparency, outside of core welfare issues relating to material benefits they need, beyond their neo-liberal wants. To know this is to reject prescriptive Europe and America. It is to embrace the people — wainanchi — as the vector of public policy, of which the budget is foremost.

The copper windfall storm

But the Minister’s quote provided an excellent framework for what I have planned for this week, all of it triggered by an anomaly I picked during a short visit to Zambia this week. I ran into a Zambian storm I was least prepared for. There was a piece in one of the main papers there — a paper closely linked to the Government of Zambia — where America’s ambassador there beseechingly urged the Zambian Government to take advantage of "the copper windfall" to build enough resources for funding Zambia’s development.

The context to this advice is that world-wide, copper prices have been going up, up and up, seemingly in complete defiance of laws of gravity. And copper is the spinal cord of the Zambian economy, has been since the 1930s when the reddish-brown metal was discovered and exploited in a formal way as reckoned and approved by Adam Smith.

Of course, native Zambians had long exploited the resource, more or less the same way we did, this side of the Zambezi. That is why copper has a Shona name – mhangura. The principle is simple: you cannot name it if you do not know it; and to know it is to use it. We did not wait for the arrival of the white man to know copper.

Metal in, ore out

The reddish brown metal has been fetching billions on world metal markets and yes, our neighbours to the North have been doing handsome business from it. You drive between Beitbridge and Chirundu, your sense of space is menaced by monstrous trucks groaning under the weight of huge earthmoving equipment, or some rotund bowel you can never put a name to, possibly for use in the smelting business.

Or it could be a stupendous transformer the size of my house somewhere on the leafy side of Harare. And out of Zambia you meet trucks and trucks headed down South, carrying copper ingots. I hear the road to Katima Mulilo groans under the weight of dumpers carrying ore, copper ore, destined for Europe via the Namibian port. Things have been happening for Zambia and hey, it’s good to have such a successful neighbour.

A cry of the wounded

Reading and researching a little more on copper and Zambia, I get to know that the British, the Swiss, Canadians and South Africans have been hard at work on Zambia’s copper deposits, with the Chinese hard on the heels, but dogged by labour-related issues.

In concert, corporates from these countries have been devouring mountains for the reddish-brown metal, leaving Zambia ruptured and wounded, it’s fractured limbs fresh and weeping. And you see a bit of that: huge mounds of fresh brown earth, piercing the heavens with the tautness of an excited nubile breast.

One hopes this is Zambia in a profound love-making tango, not an environmental rigor mortis setting in on raped and fatally wounded Zambia. You search on the internet and your worst fears are validated.

Slowly but surely, an environmental movement is taking root around mining areas, driven by embittered communities. Some rivers are now "dead", rich agricultural land deeply gullied. Zambia is beginning to cry from its wounds and one hopes she follows and reads about some little war Obasanjo vainly sought to hide in his regal garment, the little war of the delta reaches of Nigeria, all of it rendered sterile or dead by BP & Shell. More important, that she reads how America reacts when he holy lands are fouled by its elder cousins, the Brits.

Between plenty and indigence

The American ambassador is proposing that Zambia skims from the copper windfall, which he says will not be forever. He pasted a date to the windfall.

He thinks it may not last beyond two years, which is why he urges Zambia to introduce, sorry re-introduce, windfall tax on all resource companies.

Re-introduce is the word. Zambia had windfall tax before, but removed it after all manner of threats from these western conglomerates. Not idle threats if you ask me. Ask Australian politicians how these companies can change the political deck, overnight.

So the State scrapped the windfall tax, leaving these multinationals to feed fat, unhindered.

Each year, the price of copper has been going up, and today stands at about US$8 300 per tonne.

Everyone — to the miner — knows copper and good prices are coy suitors, which is why the last such happy coincidence happened in the 1970s, and have taken a good while to come back.

In between these reluctant cycles of famine and plenty, indigent Zambia writhed to the same depth it laughed in plenty.

Kaunda came and is now gone. Chiluba came, stayed through his terms. He too is now gone. Mwanawasa succeeded Chiluba, but the good Lord called him.

KK’s cocoa, Nkrumah’s copper

Much of the groundwork was done under Mwanawasa and today President Rupiah Banda is in the saddle and stands to reap the second round of the rare copper windfall, stands to receive this unique piece of advice from America’s envoy on the same. If one were to interview KK, most probably he would equate copper to cocoa, Nkrumah’s cocoa: at once a source of fabulous wealth, and a source of frightful woes.

Both are commodities of swings and roundabouts, with neither tethered to offsetting gains, or offsetting losses. Today President Banda glories above the worries of his three predecessors. Christmas has definitely come, but occurs once a year, and this is the message to Zambia, only dropping from an unlikely set of lips.

The day the cobra spat

I said I drove into a Zambian storm. Zambia will have elections next year and yes, you begin to feel hell’s temperatures, slowly graduating upwards. I know the weather of elections. The season of the spleen is upon that country, and with it, all the hard words devoid of warmth and love. This thing they call demo-crazy! As here, the Zambian media editorially organizes around dominant political trends, which means around incumbent President Rupiah Banda, around Presidential aspirant Michael Sata, "the Cobra" for short.

From these two men, or more accurately, from the causes of these two men, does the Zambian media borrow electoral anger appropriate for the season Zambia is about to enter.

I sample an editorial comment from the Zambian Post, itself pro-Sata: " . . . Rupiah and his friends are more comfortable defending foreign interests than they are championing the rights of our people . . . How can it be wrong to collect rental charges for the resources that the mining companies are renting for their own benefit?

"We know that they [Government] want to hide behind pseudo-capitalism and all sorts of ideological masks to justify their complicity in this fraud against our people.

"How can the mining companies be allowed to reap all the benefits of the copper boom without proportionate and reasonable slice being given to our people?

"Does it make sense that out of copper sales of close to US$3bn, our national treasury should only benefit US$77million? Who is getting the difference?

"It is shameful that it takes people from other countries to come and tell our leaders that they need to act responsibly and to collect reasonable revenues from the mines. This sort of advice need not come from outside.

"Everybody knows that copper happens to be our biggest economic resource which, common sense would tell us, we need to harness and utilise to provide a base for our own economic development . . . "

Between profits and people

The editorial continues: "The mining companies that are busy extracting ore from the ground and exporting copper at a huge profit need to think very carefully about their activities. If their undertakings in this country are long-term, as mining normally is, then it is in their interest that a win-win formula be worked out between them and our people.

We say this because it is folly to think that our people will always accept a situation where foreign mining entities extract copper and other mineral resources from our country, take away all the profit, leaving environmental degradation and poverty in their wake. We should not wait until people begin to agitate." This editorial of November 24, 2010 goes deeper: "…the same mining companies that we refuse to tax in Zambia are going to get taxed in their home countries.

What this means is we are allowing people to extract copper from our country to fund growth abroad at the expense of our people. It is also the same money that our government will be falling on its knees to borrow at very high interest rates — the very money we could have accessed by taxing the mines here." And an election stinger: "If they [Government] cannot listen to us, at least let them listen to the Americans, the IMF and the World Bank who are all telling them the same thing."

Too long for the West

Now, make no mistake, President Banda is no one’s poodle, which is why he faces an opposition favoured with formidable support from the usual culprits. Western powers in Zambia think the MMD has been long, too long, in power, the same way they reasoned UNIP was too long in power. They want President Banda out and have been doing things behind the scenes, the same way I was shocked to learn of their similar shenanigans in Kikwete’s Tanzania.

Absolutely no problems with Jakaya Kikwete the person. None. But he happens to lead CCM which has been in power since the beginnings of Independence and to the West, that is culpable. And the reasoning is: if we like Kikwete, we cannot guarantee that CCM will give us another candidate we fancy, after Kikwete! That way you and me — our collective destiny — is decided on the altar of human chemistry, which becomes country chemistry. But the clue came from Americans whose "After Mugabe" report put it all too well: the time of party and leadership change provides maximum leverage for donor influence! That is what is at stake. I will leave Zambians to decide who shall govern them. It is none of my business.

The cradle of liberation movements

What is of interest to me is that country’s sense of ownership and entitlement, entitlement in the sense that the Indian Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen, would use the term. Fundamentally because Zambia is not just another Southern African state. Zambia is the citadel of Southern African anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggles. MPLA, FRELIMO, ZANU, ZAPU, ANC, PAC, SWAPO, all these liberation movements came out of Zambia, or had something to do with it, Zambia under KK. What happens, or does not happen there, has immense implications for all of us, sons and daughters of that super-state we call Zambia. During my stay, I mingled with Zambians, great and small. I mingled with the beau-monde, the high world of diplomats during my short but eventful stay there. I ate lots of zvihuta or "quelea" birds for which Lusaka is renowned.

How Zambia loses the game

Two things emerged and I will risk recording them. Some western diplomat from a Nordic country, speaking in clear exasperation, says: "I repeatedly tell these people [Zambians] they must re-introduce windfall tax. This copper boom will not last. What will Zambia have for show? Mining dumps? Do you know that these companies are in fact selling copper to themselves, by way of their offshore makeshift subsidiaries which in turn take the copper to the London Metals Markets or its American equivalent? This internal sell can be as low as US$2 000 per tonne, well below the US$8 000 mark. Zambia has made tremendous concessions to these mining houses, including concessions on pre-productions expenses." I googled on Government website for the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development. It is a site sponsored by the EU and it tells me an investor who brings in say US$100m, will enjoy a tax break until he recoups his initial capital, after which he begins to be taxed under a very generous tax regime.

Cheating multinationals

Zambia’s mining regime makes huge concessions, which is why there is this boom. But where a company cheats through transfer pricing – say disposing copper to an offshore makeshift subsidiary at US$2 000 - how many years will the company need to recoup its seed capital of US$100m? But that is a lighter question. The real hard one is what quantities of copper and copper ore will have been removed from Zambia before the US$100m is recovered, at no single kwacha to Zambians? And this is coming from a Western ambassador? Would the same advice be given here to Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, a neighbour and a friend of Zambia – in fact Zambia’s political protégé from the liberation struggle? Why does resource exploitation by the West in Zambia inspire pity and fervent advice from westerners in that country, while opposition to it here invites sanctions, Zdera, MDC and regime change? It cannot be right until it drops – manna like – from the lips of the American ambassador, here or elsewhere? Or the West has to have engorged itself to fullness on our finite resources, before its conscience to begin to kick in? Three generations of leaders should have come and gone – all in grief - for the West’s conscience to be aroused and stirred?

We have an American ambassador here. We have the IMF. We have the World Bank here. None of these players have asked for a desk in Kasukuwere’s ministry, to proffer advice on extracting benefits from these multinationals operating in the sector of non-renewables. None advised the Finance Minister to insert a major policy shift in mining. Or has the native here gone one step too far by asking for 51 percent ownership? He must just limit himself to, and eat crumbs falling by way of taxes?

Wisdom from Kamwala

The second point I got from an ordinary Zambian when I visited Kamwala market. I had provocatively asked why Zambians are huddled on the laced margins of their great city, leaving South African chain stores to luxuriate at the centre, leaving them right on the fontanel of Manda Hill, the hill of burial. "We Zambians have a poor sense of ownership," the Zambian market-man spoke, and in clear self-contempt. "Go to any of our townships – what you call high densities in Zimbabwe – and you find a Zambian lodger in a house owned by a Somali, a Congolese or a Nigerian!" I did not live long enough to test that allegation and someone may have to investigate that.

True, we had it here under colonialism. Houses in townships like Mbare belonged to Malawian migrants. But that ended at Independence. And as I write, there is a great fight in the city, a fight over properties being rented out to Nigerians and Chinese by our new city fathers. There is a strong sense of ownership and control in Zimbabwe.

Rivalry of paupers

But I am almost inclined to believe my Zambian informant from Kamwala. Otherwise why would the belligerent Zambian Post limit itself to pressuring the Zambian Government on tax, and not on ownership? Why doesn’t Zambia make a case for the ownership of its non-renewable resources, the same way Zimbabwe is attempting to do? Then we will have that as a defining feature of the Southern African mining environment. Then we would be stronger as a region in our demands against miners from the West and East. Then the West would not divide us in order to misrule us. And the modern divide-and-rule comes by way of fomenting a petty sense of competition between African pauper states. We are ranked and we all compete on comparative badness, often getting drunk by fumes of false greatness, false progress described for us by the very people who rob from us. Once, Zimbabwe was touted as the better country. Today it is something else. But if you take a Zimbabwean and a Zambian, set them against a white man, you see no difference. We are all looking for a job from the same white man, our collective bwana mukuba! We the un-owning; we the owned ones, indeed a purchased people. And siblings afflicted by a false jealousy – received jealousy – can never sit down to plan together, work together for shared futures.

When the ides of March is come

My biggest worry is that the issue of ownership and empowerment comes to Zambia in an election season. As always happens, a real national agenda item gets trivialized. The mining giants are setting the pace of prices, and the once salubrious Lusaka is not that anymore. Things are just expensive, well beyond the reach of ordinary Zambians. I am not sure which customer South African retailers have in mind when they set their prices for goods they trade in that country. But what happened in South Africa itself, then followed by Mozambique not too far back this year, tells me of the two steps we in Southern Africa are fated to take, beyond the crossroad: empowerment or unrest triggered by exclusion. The debate on ownership cannot be deferred much longer, in the name of FDI and mere jobs.

Locating real Biti beneath rhetoric

Some useful statistics from Minister Biti’s budget. A measly US$5million was set aside for the empowerment programme and angry Supa Mandiwanzira tells me it cannot pay for the smallest mine in the country. Is that not great concession to a people seeking material benefits and a guaranteed future? Out of the two diamond sales we have had in the country (outside of the latest one), about US$85,2m was raised. Of that, about US$42 million came to the Government of Zimbabwe, slightly over US$19 million of which related to dividend payment. The Zimbabwean Government is part-owner of diamond mines. Put differently, we got more than half of what Zambia got from her annual sale of US$3bn copper under a different ownership regime.

Where Engels fear to tread

Within the country, it is interesting that while Biti gives us soaking details on what came from Marange, he is very sparse on River Ranch and Murowa, both of which produced 300 000 carats. How much did they post to the Exchequer, Mr. Minister? And he tells us about gold, nickel, asbestos, chrome and platinum. Platinum for instance accounted for 36 percent of total mineral production, with output up to October standing at 5 077kg, with end of year projections put at 8 500kg. I searched high and low, far and wide, for what that sector puller gave to Government. Or do we not have claim over this resource the same way we seek to hem in those doing diamonds at Marange? Are these operations in another country, another territory well beyond the minister’s jurisdiction? We are finicky about what we have conquered, reticent, even awed by what falls in the hands of the white man? And if Biti gets so much from the sale of two small parcels – all owing to 50-50 percent ownership arrangement between Government and foreign companies, what does this suggest to him in terms of his watchwords of "shared, fair economy and development"? Why is Murowa not shared? That is real Cabral, is it not?

Low-inflation traders

Two other little statistics from the Minister. The Zimbabwe economy has been picking a huge bill related to imports by way of finished goods, a huge import bill related to consumption in other words. Under the minister’s watch, the consumptive import bill swelled from US$3,2billion in 2009 to US$3,6 billion in 2010, and this at a time when food security has greatly improved through enhanced local agricultural output. We have imported more than we have supported the producer. In fact, agriculture-related imports declined by 2 percent from the previous year’s figures when hunger gnawed our insides. The culprit has been the retail sector, thanks to the Minister’s policy of opening our borders, while mercilessly depressing local producers. The Minister wants to stabilize prices to bring down inflation, his number one goal. Whether this comes at the price of turning us all into vendors, he does not quite worry. And in trying to propose a way out, he falls back on the quaint idea of "import substitution"? My foot! What import substitution? These were products we were producing here, which we have drowned through imports we have encouraged.

Investing in ideas and politics

Then something else happens. Our "cooperating partners" give "us" US$360million. This is the money the British, the Americans and other westerners are given to taunting us about, we native ingrates! Of that amount – all of which goes directly to their NGOs and related agencies – US$137,1million goes towards a consumption item the minister calls "social protection services". Next comes health which gets US$84million, followed by agriculture which gets US$54,5million. The fourth major, hard on the heels of agriculture and meriting almost US$35,5 million, is an item described in the language of Zdera, an item called "support to civil society". Add the US$7,3million for constitution-making, the US$7,1million and half a million dollars to Parliament, and then you realize our profoundly concerned donors generously set aside about US$50,5 million in our politics, well ahead of water and sanitation, trade promotion and national healing. That to me seems to suggest that unlike Amilcar Cabral and his latter-day convert, one Tendai Biti, people are "fighting for ideas, for things in someone’s head", well ahead of material benefits, quite ahead of their children’s futures.

When to have is better!

I close this one with a small story I borrow from Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian writer. "Once, Snake was riding his horse, curled up, as Was his fashion, in the saddle. As he passed the Toad, who was walking on the road, the Toad said: "Excuse me, sir, but that is not how to ride a horse." "It’s not?" asked the Snake. "Can you show me, then, how it is done?" "With pleasure," said the Toad. The Snake slid out of the saddle down the side of the horse to the groung. The Toad jumped into the saddle, sat bolt upright, and galloped most elegantly up and then down the road. "That’s how to ride a horse," he said. "Very good," said the Snake. "Very good indeed. Please descend." The Toad jumped down and the Snake slid up the side of the horse, back into the saddle, and coiled himself up as before. Then lowering his head and looking down at the Toad on the roadside, he said: "To know is very good, but to have is better. What good can superb horsemanship do a man without a horse?" And he rode away." I have always thought the horse belongs to Zimbabwe. Icho!

nathaniel.manheru ***

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(HERALD) Supreme Court throws out white farmers’ application

Supreme Court throws out white farmers’ application
By Daniel Nemukuyu

THE Supreme Court has dismissed an application by white former commercial farmers who were challenging the constitutionality of Government’s compulsory acquisition of land under the land reform programme.

Nine members of the Commercial Farmers’ Union filed the application in which they argued they were being discriminated against on the basis of race. They said only white farmers were being prosecuted on land issues and were not being considered in the land redistribution programme.

It was argued that only land owned by whites was compulsorily acquired and they wanted leave to stay on the farms.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku dismissed the application with costs saying the applicants had failed to prove or cite any black farmers who were in breach of the same law.

"They cannot be heard to complain that only white commercial farmers are being prosecuted.

"What is the Attorney-General supposed to do if it is only white farmers who are breaking the law?

"It is an abuse of court process for the applicants to approach this court seeking an interdict against the AG in these circumstances," said the Chief Justice.

He said the farmers should simply obey the law by vacating acquired land.

"If they have any legal claim to the acquired land, or arising from the acquired land, they can launch proceedings after vacating the acquired land as is required by law.

"I, therefore, find that the applicants’ complaint has no substance," he said.

The court ruled that the Minister of Lands was the acquiring authority and had the legal power to issue permits and other relevant documents.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku emphasised that issuance of an offer letter, permit or lease was a clear expression by the acquiring authority of the decision as to who should possess or occupy the land.

The Chief Justice reiterated that the Supreme Court’s decision was final and was not bound or influenced by the Sadc Tribunal.

The issue of it being bound by the Sadc Tribunal or any other courts defeated the idea of it being the country’s highest court, he noted.

Although inadequate proof was proffered in court to buttress claims that the farmers’ movable equipment was acquired, the Chief Justice ruled that the seizure of such equipment — if it did occur — was unlawful and contrary to the Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act.

The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, the Justice Minister, the Police Commissioner-General, the Auditor-General, the Finance Minister, the AG and the chairman of the compensation committee were cited as respondents.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Supreme Court dismisses white farmers' application

Supreme Court dismisses white farmers' application
Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010 11:17 pm

THE Supreme Court of Zimbabwe has dismissed an application by white former commercial farmers who were challenging the constitutionality of Government’s compulsory acquisition of land under the land reform programme.

Nine members of the Commercial Farmers’ Union filed the application in which they argued they were being discriminated against on the basis of race. They said only white farmers were being prosecuted on land issues and were not being considered in the land redistribution programme.

It was argued that only land owned by whites was compulsorily acquired and they wanted leave to stay on the farms.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku dismissed the application with costs saying the applicants had failed to prove or cite any black farmers who were in breach of the same law.

"They cannot be heard to complain that only white commercial farmers are being prosecuted.

"What is the Attorney-General supposed to do if it is only white farmers who are breaking the law?

"It is an abuse of court process for the applicants to approach this court seeking an interdict against the AG in these circumstances," said the Chief Justice.

He said the farmers should simply obey the law by vacating acquired land.

"If they have any legal claim to the acquired land, or arising from the acquired land, they can launch proceedings after vacating the acquired land as is required by law.

"I, therefore, find that the applicants’ complaint has no substance," he said.

The court ruled that the Minister of Lands was the acquiring authority and had the legal power to issue permits and other relevant documents.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku emphasised that issuance of an offer letter, permit or lease was a clear expression by the acquiring authority of the decision as to who should possess or occupy the land.

The Chief Justice reiterated that the Supreme Court’s decision was final and was not bound or influenced by the Sadc Tribunal.

The issue of it being bound by the Sadc Tribunal or any other courts defeated the idea of it being the country’s highest court, he noted.

Although inadequate proof was proffered in court to buttress claims that the farmers’ movable equipment was acquired, the Chief Justice ruled that the seizure of such equipment — if it did occur — was unlawful and contrary to the Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act.

The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, the Justice Minister, the Police Commissioner-General, the Auditor-General, the Finance Minister, the AG and the chairman of the compensation committee were cited as respondents.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Sue the president, insania mera

Sue the president, insania mera
By: Itayi Garande
Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010 9:31 pm

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has added one more incident to the growing list of gaffes by 'suing' President Mugabe whose position was placed beyond the reach of judicial direction, in the exercise of his constitutional, statutory and political powers.

Tsvangirai wants the Supreme Court to rule on what he terms the "violation" of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Under Section 20.1.3 (p) of Amendment No. 19, President Mugabe appoints ambassadors "in consultation with the Prime Minister, (and) makes key appointments the President is required to make under and in terms of the Constitution or any Act of Parliament".

The Amendment is silent on reassignments.

If the president decides to reshuffle or reassign ambassadors, he does not need to consult the prime minister as these are not (new) appointments.

In any case, as the law stands, the Supreme Court will not entertain a suit seeking a ruling directed at a sitting President.

In some countries like the US, suing a sitting president could be done through a venerable little-known method of judicial control over executive action, called "nonstatutory review."

Courts in that country could use this form of suit to review executive branch behaviour in a few instances; but this procedure only exists where there is a clear misuse of executive authority.

This "nonstatutory review" allows for the creation of remedies against unlawful government action and allows courts not to wait for Parliament to create statutory remedies.

The Zimbabwean situation is very different. There is no such legal recourse.

Reassignment of ambassadors and reappointment of governors cannot be categorised as "unlawful government action"; and there is no statutory remedy available for matters involving the implementability of the global political agreement.

Debates to this effect are purely academic in nature and are mere moot points.

Zimbabwe's constitution stipulates that a sitting president cannot be sued, and cannot be the subject of any civil or criminal proceedings; besides the GPA itself being an unenforceable political agreement.

Section 30 (1) of the Constitution stipulates: "The President shall not, while in office, be personally liable to any civil or criminal proceedings whatsoever in any court."

The resultant effect of this provision is that a sitting President will not be sued for "things done or omitted to be done by him before he became President; or things done or omitted to be done by him in his personal capacity during his term of office as President".

This also means that the President shall not be brought before the courts, or any enforcement body, for any debt or liability, incurred or accrued before or during his term of office. Any such debt or liability shall be suspended during his term of office as President.

Mr Tsvangirai and his advisers have erred in their desire to bring the President before the courts.

Unfortunately, the move is of no consequence (legally or politically) and this adds to a litany of MDC-T and Tsvangirai's political gaffes and missteps and legal blunders.

The move calls into question Mr Tsvangirai's political judgement and leadership capabilities; especially his suitability for occupying the Office of the President.

Mr Tsvangirai's move, however, is merely a cynical game of political one-upmanship. He wants to play the judicial branch against the executive branch to benefit his party's political prospects at the next election.

It's unclear who in the MDC-T, apart from the most rabid anti-Mugabe critters, would support such a move; unless it creates enough crisis to warrant another boycott of the election and thereby extend Tsvangirai's relevance in Zimbabwean politics.

* Comments and suggestions to: itayig ***

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Zuma, Mugabe discuss election timetable

Zuma, Mugabe discuss election timetable
By: Ralph Mutema
Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010 7:22 pm

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma jetted in Zimbabwe on Friday for one-day talks with President Mugabe and other leaders in the inclusive Government. He will also meet prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara to be appraised of developments in the government.

Presidents Mugabe and Zuma will also discuss the timetable for elections, Mr Zuma’s spokesman Zizi Kodwa told the Zimbabwe Guardian. President Zuma is the Sadc-appointed facilitator in the all-party negotiations.

The 15-member Sadc grouping is the guarantor of the Global Political Agreement signed by the three principals in February 2009.

The South African president was met by President Mugabe upon his arrival in Zimbabwe Friday afternoon.

The regional bloc asked him to come after the Troika, chaired by President Rupiah Banda of Zambia and deputised by President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, failed to meet in Botswana last weekend.

He will meet Mr Tsvangirai to discuss Zimbabwe's the GPA, before having a joint discussion with all three leaders.

The joint meeting “will take place very late tonight,” Kodwa said.

“We can only know then whether there is headway in terms of the issues and concerns, whether with regard to the timetable for elections or issues raised in relation to implementation” of the power-sharing deal.

Zimbabwean presidential spokesman, Mr George Charamba said the leaders will discuss the work of the interim government so far, before President Zuma heads back to South Africa tonight.

President Zuma could not disclose what was discussed last night saying he would have to brief the full Troika, which would in turn report to Sadc.

He, however, said they covered a wide range of issues including Zimbabwe-South Africa bilateral ties.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Furious MPs threaten to block budget

Furious MPs threaten to block budget
by Staff Reporter
27/11/2010 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE’S legislators have reached a cross-party consensus to block passage of the 2011 national budget if the coalition government fails to increase their monthly salaries to US$3000.

Tensions has been palpable between members of parliament and the executive with the legislators particularly incensed by President Robert Mugabe’s recent declaration that elections to choose a new government must be held by June next year.

The legislators wrote to Mugabe demanding compensation if the election goes ahead arguing that their current terms – which were due to end in 2013 - would be unfairly cut short.

The MPs have also been unhappy with their salaries which are currently pegged at around US$400 and on Friday threatened not to pass the 2011 budget unless government reviews their conditions of services.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti presented the budget in parliament on Thursday.

Zanu PF legislator for Mwenezi East Kudakwashe Bhasikiti moved the motion calling for the salary increase which was unanimously by the lower house.

"I want to appeal to Honourable Members that opportunity knocks on your door once in your lifetime and this opportunity that is before us today — we should not miss it.

"This is the last (Budget) knowing very well that next year there will be elections; we will be walking into poverty. It is common cause that if you want to control people, what you do first is to impoverish them then you subject them; this is what is happening,” Paddy Zhanda, the Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi told state media.

He added that the government’s failure to adequately reward MPs and civil servants encouraged corruption.

"We have pretended to put up institutions that have not delivered at all — the Anti-Corruption Commission which has never prosecuted anybody despite various allegations of corrupt practices.

"Why is it difficult to do business in Zimbabwe? It’s because you are knocking on the door of a permanent secretary who earns US$200 with a US$10 million project, it does not make sense,” he said.

The MPs are also demanding new vehicles arguing they had effectively been reduced to pedestrians while cabinet ministers and members of the judiciary had access to more than one vehicle.

"We are saying this Government should look more into the plight of civil servants, MPs and everybody who works for it instead of giving priority to foreign trips and parastatals that are getting broke, that are being siphoned by others in the executive,” said Tangwara Matimba, the MDC-T representative for Buhera Central.

However analysts have warned that blocking the budget could force an early election since the action might render the state dysfunctional.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

(LUSAKATIMES) KCM pleads guilty to environmental pollution

KCM pleads guilty to environmental pollution
Friday, November 26, 2010, 7:20
By LusakaTimes

The Chingola magistrates court has fined KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) K21.97 million after the mining company pleaded guilty to four counts of polluting the environment contrary to the laws of Zambia. Particulars of the offence are that KCM, a Copperbelt based mining giant, polluted the Kafue river between October 29 and 31, 2010 in Chingola.

On the first count, the court fined KCM K10.8 million, on the second count K10.8 million, on the third count K270,000 and K100,000 on the fourth count. On the first count, KCM was charged with polluting the environment contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

On the second count, KCM was charged with discharging poisonous, toxic, ecotoxic, obnoxious or obstructing matter, radiation or other pollutant into the aquatic environment contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

KCM pleaded guilty to discharging pregnant liqour solution from the Tailing Leach plant, a poisonous, toxic and obonoxious matter into the Kafue river during the said period.

On the third count KCM was fined for willfully failing to report an act or incident of pollution of the environment namely the Kafue River, to the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ).

On the fourth count, KCM was charged with failure to comply with the requirements for discharge of effluent contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

This was after KCM failed to comply with the requirements for discharge of effluent into the aquatic environment by discharging Pregnant Liqour Solution with concentration above statutory limits in October, 2010. KCM pleaded guilty to the four counts in court yesterday and they were asked to pay the fine before November 28, 2010.

KCM a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc intends to float its shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) through a holding company called Konkola Resources plc.

The Zambian government has praised the listing of KCM on the London Stock Exchange describing the move as a landmark achievement for not just the company but the country as a whole.

Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane says the government as a stakeholder of KCM had seen the success of its investment programme over the years.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Consult before privatising Indeni, Govt urged

Consult before privatising Indeni, Govt urged
Friday, November 26, 2010, 7:31

The Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) has advised government to undertake wide consultations before considering the privatization of Indeni Oil Refinery.

PSDA Chairman Yusuf Dodia in an interview with QFM says Indeni Oil Refinery is a strategic institution to national development adding that it needs to be spearheaded by government. Mr. Dodia says people should not be misled in thinking that the oil refinery will be more efficient if the majority shares are placed in private hands.

He says it is important to bring in private capital in the oil industry adding that Indeni belongs to the people of Zambia and government should ensure that it owns the majority stake in the refinery.

And Mr. Dodia says the mistakes that government may have made in privatizing other parastatal companies should not be ignored and that if the same happens to Indeni, the country will be in a situation where it will begin importing fuel.

Energy and Water Development Minister Kenneth Konga recently announced that Cabinet will soon meet to discuss the sale of some shares in the Indeni Oil Refinery.

Government currently holds a 100 percent stake in the oil refinery after it bought off the 50 percent shares from Total.

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Egypt's Mubarak rejects Ethiopia's Meles rebel claims

Egypt's Mubarak rejects Ethiopia's Meles rebel claims
By BBC News
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 08:20 CAT

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has dismissed allegations that his country is supporting rebel groups in Ethiopia. Mr Mubarak said he was surprised to hear of the accusation made by Ethiopia on Tuesday, as the two countries had a good relationship.

Egypt and Ethiopia are in a long-running dispute over how to share the waters of the River Nile. Ethiopia has led efforts to tear up a colonial-era treaty that gave Egypt and Sudan 90 per cent of the river's water. Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Tuesday told the Reuters news agency that Egypt was backing its rebel groups.

The countries which share the River Nile have been talking about a new agreement for some 13 years without success.

East African countries through which the Nile flows back Ethiopia's demands for a new deal. Ethiopia - the source of the Blue Nile - contributes an estimated 85 per ceent of the river waters but is able to make relatively little use of its natural resource.

Correspondents say that water is seen as a matter of national security for Egypt.
Egypt's farmers are almost wholly dependent on the River Nile and its water.

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Problems over Barotseland have been left to worsen - Chongwe

Problems over Barotseland have been left to worsen - Chongwe
By George Chellah
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

LUSAKA lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe says problems over the Barotseland Agreement have been left to worsen for a very long time. He urged Zambia to take advantage of the debate about the constitution to settle the matter.

Dr Chongwe said successive governments had skirted around the problem and no real effort had been made to address it with the traditional leaders of Western Province. He said the issues regarding the Barotseland Agreement would not disappear unless there was a will by all people to address them through the constitution.

“We cannot in good conscience try to gloss over and arrogantly dismiss this fact, as has been the practice in the past. We . . . made a deal with the Barotse Kingdom. We must now in all good faith acknowledge that we did not keep it. Our partners in the broken agreement have clearly not been happy with our behaviour for a long while. Let’s come together and put it right in our time,” Dr Chongwe said.

He explained that during the last stages of the constitutional conference in Marlborough, London, then colonial secretary Sir Duncan Sandys crafted an agreement, which he sold to Northern Rhodesia prime minister and Sir Mwanawina Lewanika of Barotseland to bring the two together to facilitate the fusion of the two areas to form Zambia.

Dr Chongwe said it appeared that a few of the delegates claimed to be aware of this side meeting, which took place alongside the main conference.

He said the representatives of Barotseland Protectorate argued with the colonial power regarding their own treaty with the British government, which led to its creation.

Dr Chongwe said the nationalists wanted Barot-seland to join Northern Rhodesia in its independence, as the two protectorates were part of one country.

He said Sir Mwanawina Lewanika agreed that the Barotseland Protectorate should join with the protectorate of Northern Rhodesia to form Zambia on condition that Barotseland retained its local autonomous while powers exercised over it by Britain would be surrendered to the new state.

He said the agreement which paved way for the fusion of the two protectorates was signed on May 18, 1964, by Sir Duncan, Sir Mwanawina and Dr Kenneth Kaunda and subsequently Zambia was created on October 24, 1964.

Dr Chongwe said the agreement was repealed without discussion and this was the genesis of the problems regarding Western Province.

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Zambians have benefited little from copper - FES

COMMENT - What is the title of 'the book'?

Zambians have benefited little from copper - FES
By Darious Kapembwa in Kitwe
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:00 CAT

FES resident director Heiner Naumann has said making the constitution is not democratic enough if there are no people to defend and protect its democratic provisions.

And Naumann has said Friederich Ebert Stiftung (FES) is working with unions and the civil society in the belief that these organisations are pillars of Zambia’s democracy.

Speaking in Kitwe on Tuesday during a book launch by the Mineworkers Union of Zambia on the Zambian mining industry that was supported by FES, Naumann observed that making a constitution was not democracy in the absence of someone to defend it.

“Democracy is only strong through the people and by the people not just by writing a constitution. If nobody is defending its democratic provisions, then it’s hollow.

That is why FES supports unions and also partners with civil society organisations like the CSPR, we do this in the belief that all these organisations are pillars of Zambia’s democracy,” Naumann said.

He said very little had been achieved from Zambia’s copper in form of economic and social benefits by the Zambian people.

"A lot has been published on Zambia’s mining boom but very little has been done in terms of social protection for workers and the general economic outlook of the country and the situation in the mining industry currently is that mine owners look at labour as a cost factor when in fact it is a major component in production," Naumann said.

"And it is sad to note that management functions in the mining industry are being transferred from producing countries to the headquarters or the country of origin for particular mine owners."

Naumann said issues of safety, health, social and job security in the industry had to be critically analysed and that labour leaders needed to do more research in order to present sound arguments.

"Our organisation will continue to support research of that nature by independent bodies as solidarity is more than justice," said Naumann.

And MUZ president Rayford Mbulu said critics who thought MUZ argued without proof had been shamed by the volume of information which research director Charles Muchimba had gathered in the book.

Mbulu said there had been a void between 2000 and 2010 which had been filled by the new book.

And Copperbelt University lecturer Davidson Chilipamushi who reviewed the book said it was a bankable reference to both the academia and stakeholders in the sector.

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(STICKY) Musokotwane is being treacherous on windfall tax - Lawyer

Musokotwane is being treacherous on windfall tax - Lawyer
By Florence Bupe and Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

LUSAKA lawyer Sibanze Simuchoba says finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane is being treacherous and unpatriotic by refusing to re-introduce windfall tax for mining companies.

In an interview, Simuchoba said it was surprising that the government, through the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, was adamant on the re-introduction of windfall tax for the mines despite pressure from various stakeholders to do so.

“It is hard to understand why Dr Musokotwane is coming out so strongly against the re-introduction of windfall tax when that is what Zambians want. In fact, I have not heard any mining company oppose windfall tax as strongly as Musokotwane and President Rupiah Banda,” he said.

Simuchoba said it was disappointing for learned people like Dr Musokotwane to gauge Zambia’s mining tax regime against countries like Chile because the ownership of the mining industry was different.

He explained that the bulk of Chilean copper mines were state-owned, and it would be unreasonable to apply certain taxes because this would mean the government taxing itself.

Simuchoba echoed other stakeholders’ concerns that Zambia would greatly lose out on attractive copper prices on the international market because the prices would not always remain high.

Copper is currently trading at over US $8,000 per tonne on the international commodities market.

But an economist advised the government to impose export tax rather than windfall tax, which he said was prone to manipulation.

Export tax responds only and when mines are exporting most of the natural resources, unlike windfall and variable profit tax, which aim to capture abnormal profits by mining firms.

Kelvin Kamayoyo supported calls early this week by US Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella on the government to revise mineral taxation policies.

Kamayoyo said imposing export taxes on minerals would result in welfare gains and reduce the environmental adverse impacts of their extraction.

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Address exploitation of resources, urges SARW

Address exploitation of resources, urges SARW
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 03:59 CAT

SARW Zambia representative Edward La-nge yesterday challenged the government leaders to urgently address the illegal exploitation of natural resources to avoid increased conflicts and instability in the sub region.

And Lange has advised that reports and publications which the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) supports do not represent the views of the institution but those of the authors and writers.

In an interview ahead of next month’s International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) heads of state summit scheduled for Lusaka, Lange urged member countries to implement rules and regulations that would reduce illegal exploitation of natural resources.

“It is widely recognised that illegal exploitation as well as the trade of natural resources contribute to the instability in the region and represents an impediment to economic and social development in the ICGLR region and we urge member states to find solutions to this problem through mutual agreement within the framework of close regional cooperation,” Lange said.

“We are saying so because the potential of conflict is high especially over the exploitation of resources along common borders and if not urgently addressed, it may explode since we seem to be sitting on a time bomb and as civil society we should also increase our advocacy against illegal exploitation of natural resources through regular interface with leaders so that this indiscriminate stealing can be stopped.”

He explained that regional civil society organisations recently met in DR Congo and resolutions of that meeting would be presented during the Heads of State summit in Lusaka.

“We are hoping to feed into the deliberations of the summit and present our resolutions since we are working for the same cause and Zambia has an opportunity as host nation and chair to share experiences and learn from what is obtaining in other countries. For instance, corporate social responsibility is voluntary in Zambia but in other countries it is compulsory,” Lange said.

He further said SARW supported various publications that were written by several authors.

“But their views do not necessarily represent that of the institution but individual authors,” said Lange.

SARW was established in 2007 and is supported by the Open Society Initiative in Southern Africa (OSISA), with its focus on promoting sustainable use of natural and mineral resources.

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UPND and media

UPND and media
By The Post
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:00 CAT

IN life it is necessary to be clear about things.

When one is clear about things, it’s easier to realise that life is not just about entitlements. It is also easy for one to take responsibility for their decisions and actions. Clarity helps us to know what to do and what not to do. This is necessary in every sphere of life and much more so in politics.

Politics is about engaging the people all the time. No meaningful politics can be carried out without contact with the masses of our people. This means making a those who have chosen politics as a means of their contribution to our country should understand what that calling demands. Politicians must be astute and very careful in the way that they engage the public. Communication is the daily currency of all their transactions. And this is why it is said that to govern is to communicate. To make intelligent decisions about public policy, people need information. This is especially important during election campaigns when candidates must explain their positions on various issues.

It is important that politicians learn to engage the various sections of society in a way that makes their communication relevant. By this we mean that politicians should understand who they are dealing with at every point of their interaction with the public.

There is a way of communicating with an ordinary man on the street and another way of dealing with a journalist in the news media. An ordinary man in the street will receive communication for himself and his own consumption whereas a journalist is a receptacle for the public at large. He or she receives the information for the purpose of processing it and relaying it so that the public is well-informed.

This therefore means that what a politician says to a journalist, he or she is saying to the whole world. The attitude that a politician shows to a journalist is the attitude that he would like portrayed to the world about himself. These are basic things that we need not explain.

But it seems there are people who do not understand that it is not our job as journalists to be their public relations officers. If they would like to do public relations, they should find a better way of doing it. They can even employ journalists to work for them if that is what they want; to run party propaganda newspapers for them.

And since some of them are very rich and with the best experience in running business, this shouldn’t be a problem.

The behaviour of UPND is not surprising although it still is disappointing. We would have expected that by now they have gained some experience in politics and should therefore be in a position to take responsibility for their own failure or even success. Trying to blame The Post for their political problems will not take them anywhere.

It won’t even help them politically because The Post is not a political party. Clearly, the UPND has been trying to find ways of blaming The Post for its lethargy and failure to read the political mood in the country correctly.

We say this because for a long time now the UPND has resorted to insulting The Post every time they are unhappy with a story that it carries. In fact for a long time they were in the habit of denying stories that they gave and instead accused The Post of misquoting them.

Their members of parliament have been in the habit of using the cover of Parliament to say things against the newspaper and its editors that they could not say outside knowing that they would be sued for defamation. They have also resorted to blaming The Post for all the problems that they are facing in their pact with the PF.

To them, The Post is their biggest political problem – their “first enemy”. They never stop to ask what the real problem is with their politics. They are in a perpetual victim mentality, looking for somebody to blame for all their misfortunes. The Post’s coverage of UPND has never been appreciated.

Instead they are always looking for things to complain about. They have always accused us of not covering them. Notwithstanding that they behave like a secret society that does not want to share its political diary.

Even the President of the country Rupiah Banda tells us where he is going or what he is doing so that we can cover him if we so desire. If he didn’t tell us we probably would not cover most of the things that he is doing. But UPND expects us to be magicians to know what they are doing without any meaningful communication that enables us to plan.

Anyway they should know that we are tired of the insults that they keep piling on us for the way that we cover them. They have failed to weigh themselves correctly as newsmakers. Their value on the newsstand is not what they think it is. The news medium loses nothing by not carrying a story about UPND.

They are not anywhere near the highest selling news. And they shouldn’t forget that the core business of the news media is to collect news, process it and sell it. We are not a propaganda newsletter for people with inflated egos. We don’t push news down the throats of our readers; we give them what they want to read. And this is why today The Post is the largest circulating newspaper in our country.

The problem with trying to cover UPND is that they complain about everything. When you miss an event that they did not inform you about, they complain. When you cover them they still find something to complain about. They are not ashamed to complain about where the picture of their president appeared in the newspaper in comparison to other newsmakers.

If their president was selling the papers as much as other newsmakers do why would The Post not cover him the way he wants to be covered. In other words it is up to their party to find a way of communicating effectively. It is not for The Post to help them to communicate.

In fact the coverage that UPND is receiving from the entire Zambian news media is far more than the party deserves given its size and its communication strategies, which are abysmal. This is a party that on its own will count for nothing in next year’s elections.

We are saying this because this is a party whose president has publicly told the nation that on his own him and his party cannot win next year’s elections. And given this position it should be clear to all that this party should not be expected to field a winning presidential candidate next year. It is not a party, which will seriously contest the presidency of this country next year. If it does, it will just be as a spoiler.

The only way of survival for UPND is through alliances or pacts with the MMD or PF. Without an alliance with either MMD or PF-UPND will not be a factor in next year’s elections. This leaves this country with two serious contenders for the presidency in next year’s elections – Rupiah of the MMD and Michael Sata of PF. And there is no way, even if there was to be an alliance between UPND and MMD, Hakainde Hichilema is going to be a presidential candidate. Equally, if the PF/UPND pact is to succeed there is no way Hakainde is going to be the presidential candidate of that pact.

There is no sensible criteria one will use to adopt Hakainde as a presidential candidate over Rupiah or Michael. Of course many permutations have been floated – Michael dying of heart attack before the elections or George Kunda blocking him by the constitutional amendments.

This is not politics but sorcery! So whichever way one looks at the matter it is clear that UPND is not what it thinks it is. It is up to them to deal with the political realities that face them. It is not about The Post coverage or lack of it.

Anyway, it is up to them to now go to those media organisations that cover them fairly and adequately and leave us alone. We are not government funded. We don’t draw any funds from the taxpayers coffers. We cannot be UPND or anybody’s mouthpiece. We write what we like.
UPND has forgotten that no one has fought their battles more than we have. Even in ingratitude there has to be realism and honesty. Today the UPND can try to assault Post journalists.

They have forgotten that we have been waging a battle on their behalf over the Mufumbwe violence. We have been defending them consistently. We are the only ones who have been calling for justice over the assault of one of their key leaders, Charles Kakoma. Let them check how many editorial comments we have written calling for justice on this matter. Today they find it defensible to accuse us of being their enemy and threaten to kill us. Is this the kind of politics they want us to support? Never!

We wish them well as they go to get coverage from media that they think will cover them fairly.

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Police tear-gas Sata

Police tear-gas Sata
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:02 CAT

POLICE in Lusaka yesterday tear-gased Michael Sata, George Mpombo and PF cadres at the Drug Enforcement Commission’s (DEC) headquarters. The incident happened soon after Sata arrived at the DEC’s main gate around 9.40am. Sata, who is PF leader, was to be questioned in connection with his US $100,000 transaction at Finance Bank two years ago.

Sata was surrounded by party officials and cadres who had waited for his arrival. He proceeded to the DEC main entrance, but police took a long time to open the gate, incensing the cadres.

“The person you wanted is here. What are you waiting for?” one of them asked.

Amidst the confusion, one of Sata’s guards, Judge Ngoma, managed to find his way inside to secure his boss’s passage but was whipped by police officers.

The action angered PF cadres even more. They pushed to break through the police blockade. Police responded by firing teargas canisters. The first canister dropped just a few metres from where Sata stood.

Sensing danger, his security men whisked him towards his lawyer Bonaventure Mutale’s vehicle.

The police acted swiftly to remove the canister although the gas had already spread. As a result, Sata was choked.

Notable among those who were tear-gassed were Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament George Mpombo.

Sata and Mpombo were later driven in the same vehicle to a safer place. They returned to the DEC offices after the situation normalised. In a brief interview, Sata said police had planned the move in a bid to cause harm to him.

“That is Rupiah Banda, he believes in criminal activities. Why throwing teargas when people are not riotous? That is what you expect from Kabonde because Mr Kabonde has passed retirement age and he has just become a cadre,” said Sata. Mpombo des-cribed the action by police as political shenanigans.

“How can you teargas a leader of a big political party?” asked Mpombo.

Sata was later questioned for about 45 minutes. In an interview shortly after, Sata said the prosecutors wanted to find out if the US $100,000 was related to drug money. He said he was asked to reveal the source of his funding, but he refused.

DEC public relations manager John Nyawali said Sata had been questioned as part of the ongoing investigations into the US$100,000 and they recorded an ordinary statement from him. He said several employees from Finance Bank and Action Auto had been interviewed in connection with the transaction.

Recently, MMD cadre Edward Mumbi claimed that Sata financed Change Life Zambia executive director Fr Frank Bwalya with US $100,000 to campaign against the MMD government. Mumbi challenged Sata to disclose the source of the money.

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Priest tells govt to prove healthcare critics wrong

Priest tells govt to prove healthcare critics wrong
By Darious Kapembwa in Kitwe
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

A clergyman says the government must prove that service delivery in public hospitals is above average instead of criticising those exposing the poor conditions.

Commenting on the poor conditions at Mbala and Mpulungu hospitals that were exposed when PF leader Michael Sata visited the areas, Caritas coordinator for Kasama Archdiocese Fr Nicholas Kaliminwa said there was no need to criticise visitors to the hospital.

Fr Kaliminwa said no one was required to get permission from anyone to visit a hospital.

“These hospitals fall in our boundaries as Kasama Archdiocese and as a church, we are concerned about the state of these hospitals because you cannot have patients sleeping in such conditions and carrying their own chitenge materials to use as bedding,” Fr Kaliminwa said.

“I think we are being unfair. I am not supporting Sata but what we are told is that he gave a lift to a sick old woman who was going to the hospital and then he came across that sad situation. Surely, you cannot blame Sata but work on what he exposed or if it is not true, prove that services are better."

He said the government needed to maintain the already existing hospitals and provide proper equipment even as it constructed new health facilities.

He said there was need to come up with a mechanism to protect patients in public health institutions.

“Otherwise, we are not supposed to criticise but we should evaluate what we have done or what kind of health service are we delivering to our people. If we are doing well, then there is no need to be agitated if someone visits a hospital,” said Fr Kaliminwa.

Recently, Northern Province minister John Chinyanta strongly criticised Sata for visiting patients who were spending nights on the floor due to lack of beds in Mbala and Mpulungu districts.

Chinyanta said Sata had no right to visit the hospital without permission from hospital authorities.

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Violence is a product of the UPND - Muzyamba

Violence is a product of the UPND - Muzyamba
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:00 CAT

VIOLENCE is a product of the UPND through the Mapatizya formula, Southern Province MMD chairman Solomon Muzyamba said yesterday. And Muzyamba declared that the MMD does not need an alliance with UPND to win next year’s elections.

Commenting on UPND’s threats to burn and kill Post assistant news editor George Chellah as reported in yesterday’s Post newspaper, Muzyamba expressed surprise that the UPND was now attacking The Post when it was perceived that MMD was the number one enemy of the newspaper.

“The genesis of political violence was in Mapatizya where the UPND used machetes to attack MMD cadres. Now it is The Post being accused,” Muzyamba said. “Violence is the product of the UPND through the Mapatizya formula. As for the MMD, we may have reacted in some instances but that was in self-defence and not through our instigation. We never have provoked violence and we don’t encourage it at all.”

Muzyamba said the MMD did not need an alliance with the UPND to take back the province dominated by the opposition party.

“It is surprising that it is now UPND against The Post and as MMD, we would not want to be dragged in that problem. But I’m confident enough to say that we MMD are intact and we don’t need the alliance as it is being reported in order to govern the country,” he said.

And Livingstone MMD youth chairperson Felix Lyandishya has appealed to Forum for Democratic Process (FODEP) and Anti Voter Apathy Project (AVAP) to call for a youth indaba to discuss political violence and the need for youths to contest next year’s elections.

He said he would love to see youths contest next year’s elections so that their voice could be heard.

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Mazombwe calls for peaceful 2011 polls

Mazombwe calls for peaceful 2011 polls
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 26 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

CARDINAL Merdado Mazombwe yesterday called for peace and unity ahead of next year’s elections. And there was pomp and splendor at Lusaka International Airport as Catholics sang and praised God and Pope Benedict XVI for anointing Mazombwe, the first Zambian Cardinal.

Speaking to journalists on arrival from Italy where Pope Benedict conferred the Cardinalate and a red hat on him and 23 other bishops during a public consistory at St Peter ‘s Square in Rome last Saturday, Cardinal Mazombwe said Zambians would elect a person who would take the country forward.

“God must guide us; we pray that at the time of elections we remain peaceful people and people who have the interest of this country at heart; we want the country to develop and its inhabitants to be united,” he said.

“We thank his Excellency President Rupiah Banda and all members of Cabinet, parliamentary members and people who are working together in order that this country should continue to experience unity and peace.”

Cardinal Mazombwe thanked Pope Benedict for recognising the growth of the Catholic Church in Zambia through his appointment.

“We are sharing the experience of very special nature. With the presence of the Nuncio here, I feel the Holy Father is with us. He has honoured us,” he said.

Cardinal Mazombwe said Cardinals were like the hinge on which the door of the church turned and he thanked God that Zambia had been invited to preach the gospel beyond borders.

Cardinal Mazombwe said the Catholic Church should grow to reach a certain level of maturity in development.

He said he would not advocate an African Pope because God guided the church and when the time came to pick a pope, whoever God would anoint would be supported to be head of the Catholic Church. Among the people who welcomed Cardinal Mazombwe were Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who was in transit, Vatican Ambassador to Zambia Nicola Girasoli, FDD president Edith Nawakwi, Lusaka archdiocese Arch-bishop Telesphore Mpundu, works and supply deputy minister Lameck Mangani, Ministry of Community Development permanent secretary Sherry Thole, Zambia Episcopal Confer-ence spokesperson Fr Paul Samasumo and Catholic Church leaders.

After hugging Cardinal Mazombwe, Dr Kaunda asked him to continue praying and guiding the country.
ZEC president Bishop George Lungu and Kasama Diocese former archbishop James Spaita among several other Catholics accompanied Cardinal Mazombwe to Italy.

Nawakwi said Mazom-bwe’s appointment was a blessing to Zambia.

Miriam Mumba, a Catholic from Pope Square, who was in Cardinal Mazombwe’s entourage to Italy, said she felt good that Pope Benedict recognised Zambia.

Bishop Lungu said: “It was a moving session when we saw our Cardinal approaching the altar to receive the red biretta; there was ululation in the basilica and the Zambian flag was flying; it was an emotional time. It was wonderful to be there.”

Lusaka’s Chainda Cath-olic Church member Thelma Kangwa said: “I am very happy that our former bishop was appointed Cardinal.”

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Bennett's speech in Paris misguided

Bennett's speech in Paris misguided
By: Sixpence Manyengavana
Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 11:40 am

ROY Bennett’s speech at the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) in Paris, France on 9 November 2010 must be condemned with the contempt it deserves for it lacks merit.

For the record, Zanu-PF was never doubtful about taking part in the February 1980 elections as Bennett would want the world to believe when he mentioned in his speech that Zanu’s leaders were deeply skeptical about participating in elections because it believed they would be rigged against them.

At that time it was obvious the party had the support of the majority of citizens guaranteeing a landslide victory, which is why Bennett and his other ex-Rhodie colleagues defected to Zanu-PF.

As a reminder, Bennett is one of the ex-Rhodesians who benefited from the extended hand of reconciliation by President Mugabe at Independence; as such he had every reason to support Zanu-PF.

Before independence, Bennett was a member of the notorious Selous Scouts, a Special Forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army that operated from 1973 until 1980. They were trained to kill and maim and were the most feared ruthless force in Africa.

The Selous Scouts killed refugees, men, women and children at Chimoio, Tembue, Mkushi, Luangwa and Solwezi bases where the bodies were buried in mass graves.

Bennett was also a policeman in the Smith regime protecting minority interests.

Bennett and David Coltart both served in the British South Africa Police (BSAP) founded by Cecil John Rhodes. That force tortured captured freedom fighters from Zanla and Zipra camps.

Between 1980 and just before 2000, Bennett was not only a staunch supporter of Zanu-PF, but served as Member of Parliament for Chimanimani constituency who enjoyed popular support from black people whom his kith and kin terrorized during his time with the Rhodesian Forces.

If Zanu-PF was as bad since 1980 as he alleges, would he have joined it and served as a legislator?

The rural folk were never brutalized nor terrorized to vote for Zanu-PF. It was known that the party is the one that brought freedom from the enslaving colonial white minority as the freedom fighters worked hand in glove with them.

Who, in their right state of political alertness, would believe lies manufactured by a fugitive who is running away from a myriad of crimes he committed in this country?

Bennett’s allegations about the rural populace being intimidated to vote for Zanu-PF are a result of his guilty conscience stemming from the atrocities Selous Scouts committed.

On the issue of the training and deployment of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland in 1983, Bennett is trying to hide behind a finger.

The exercise was not meant to be ethnic cleansing or impulsive killing as he alleges.

Zanla and Zipra fought side by side, fighting Bennett and his colleagues who were arrogantly refusing to set the blacks free.

Bennett finds it easy to meander behind the truth and allege that after successfully defeating the colonial powers, Zanu-PF decided to wipe out the Ndebele Tribe.

Why does he find it difficult to tell the truth? Who doesn’t know that Gukurahundi was deployed in the Southern region of Zimbabwe in response to atrocious activities by the notorious “dissidents?”

The Government could not sit and watch while former Zipra combatants butcher their kinsfolk in a clear case of systematic use of violence and intimidation by armed combatants on defenseless innocent civilians to provoke government response by some political stalwarts who had grievances stemming from governance issues.

Dissidents were created to cause commotion in Matabeleland. This was a well calculated move meant to create an ungovernable situation and cause problems for the Zanu-PF government, so there was no other way to solve the crisis except military intervention.

The implementation of land reform programme is not a political gimmick as alleged by Bennett. Land is our heritage and it is because of land that the war of liberation was waged.

It was going to make a mockery of the war of liberation if government had not redistributed land to the landless majority after winning that war.

Bennett's allegations have been specially crafted to attract sympathy from the country’s detractors. The tone in his speech reflects the stress he is suffering especially after his nomination to occupy the Deputy Agriculture portfolio was rejected by President Mugabe.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s hand-picking of Bennett to take the agriculture portfolio was not by coincidence. His motives to reverse the land reform programme have been thwarted in their infancy.

This has infuriated MDC-T which had promised former white commercial farmers their land back hence all these futile attempts to discredit President Mugabe and Zanu-PF on the international fora.

Bennett’s speech was accompanied by a collection of gruesome pictures of people he purports were maimed by security agents in Zimbabwe. The people in the pictures cannot be identified which means that he could have taken pictures from any conflict in an effort to authenticate his allegations.

Shame on him.



(TALKZIMBABWE) Full Text: Biti's 2011 National Budget

Full Text: Biti's 2011 National Budget
By: Our reporter
Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 8:29 pm

THE Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, presented the 2011 National Budget to Parliament on 25 November 2010.

The Budget, which has the theme "Shared Economy, Shared Development, Shared Transformation - Creating the Fair Economy" seeks to consolidate on the macro-economic stabilisation measures contained in STERP I and II, according to Mr Biti.

DOWNLOAD: Biti's 2011 Budget Statement

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

(LUSAKATIMES) Mining firms to pay over K1 trillion in tax arrears

Mining firms to pay over K1 trillion in tax arrears
Thursday, November 25, 2010, 18:40

Mining companies in Zambia have agreed to pay K1.426 trillion in tax arrears arising from the 2008 mining tax regime. Finance and national planning minister Situmbeko Musokotwane told parliament in a ministerial statement that this follows the finalization of the discussions between government and all themining companies.

Dr Musokotwane says the discussion focused on the need for the mining companies to pay tax arrears arising from the changes that were introduced in 2008. He says all the mining companies have agreed to pay the tax arrears.

He adds that it has also been agreed that the windfall tax arrears be reassessed at 25 percent to ensure that the assessed total liability does not exceed the 47 percent effective tax rate which was intended.

Dr Musokotwane says of the total tax arrears owed by the mining companies, government expects that K458.5 billion will be paid by the end of 2010, while the balance of K967.6 billion will be settled in 2011.

He says government will ensure that all arrears owed by the mining companies are paid by 30th June 2011.

Dr Musokotwane further disclosed that all the mining companies have agreed to start paying taxes based on the current tax regime.

And Dr Musokotwane says the design of the abolished windfall tax was defective and not consistent with international practice as it was based on taxing revenue.

He explains that the windfall tax did not take into account the cost of production.


He says the normal practice is to tax windfall profits as is the current practice for mining, banking and telecommunications.

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Rejecting windfall tax is scandalous - Magande

Rejecting windfall tax is scandalous - Magande
By Joseph Mwenda and Florence Bupe
Thu 25 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT

NG’ANDU Magande yesterday said it is scandalous that the mining sector in Zambia is contributing less than ten per cent to the gross revenue collections. In an interview Magande, a former finance minister, observed that his successor Dr Situmbeko Musokot-wane was resisting the re-introduction of windfall tax because it was introduced by people he did not like.

“This is scandalous, to say the least, to get less than ten per cent of the total revenue from a commodity which is not replaceable. What these people who are calling for windfall tax are saying is very important. Let Honourable Musokotwane forget the name ‘windfall tax’. If they are so scared and are afraid of windfall tax because it came in Mwanawasa’s speech, because it came in Magande’s budget, let them find other names that are suitable to their ears and their tongues, as long as it earns more money out of what is being extracted and leaving holes for us,” Magande said.

He said ordinary citizens were responsible for safeguarding minerals so it was important to explain to them how much they earned out of the resources. He observed that with the current variable tax, many companies would manage to evade tax because the revenue authority did not have a mechanism for auditing the profit and loss accounts for the investors.

Magande said Musokotwane was confusing himself by saying that windfall tax was not acceptable in the current MMD regime when he had introduced the same tax to the telecommunication sector.

“He is saying on page 22 of his budget speech, ‘In this regard the telecom companies that will generate US $250 million kwacha profit or below will continue to be taxed at 35 per cent, while any profits above 250 million will now attract tax rate of 40 per cent’; isn’t this windfall tax?” Magande asked.

He said the telecommunication sector needed to be motivated because it was key to other developmental sectors.

And FDD leader Edith Nawakwi has said the government should stop making Zambians finance the copper mining sector through failure to implement the windfall tax on mining houses.

Featuring on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk programme on Tuesday, Nawakwi said ordinary Zambians were subsidising the copper mining sector through the high exchange rates prevailing in the country.

Nawakwi expressed disappointment that learned officials were supporting the government’s stance on the windfall tax and were failing to acknowledge the benefits that the implementation of the windfall tax would have on the growth of the national economy.

“It is a sheer lack of understanding of what windfall tax means. Windfall means something you didn’t expect… when we say windfall tax, we mean a charge on the profit which we didn’t expect,” Nawakwi explained.

She said at the time the government implemented the collection of windfall tax from the mining houses, revenue contributions from the mining sector increased significantly.

Nawakwi said Zambia was bound to lose out on the attractive copper prices on the international commodities market if the government insisted on not effecting windfall tax on mining houses.

She urged the government to take a leaf from Chile, which was able to realise about US $12 billion from its mining activities because of policies that ensured that the country benefits from the sector.

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