By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Fri 04 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT
COMMENT - This is the consequence of over two decades of neoliberal rule by the MMD. The UPND and elements in the PF think this should continue indefinitely. Foreign ownership of the mines is theft of natural resources, and Zambia should not receive a single cent in 'donor aid' until the mines are taxed to the max. These high copper prices aren't going to last, and the people have alreaydy missed out on most of it. This is theft. - MrK
EDITH Nawakwi says the government has everything it takes to compel foreign investors in the mining sector to start empowering Zambians by giving them business opportunities.
In an interview in Kitwe, Nawakwi, who is FDD president, said it was unacceptable that many locals had been excluded from the mainstream of the country's national economy, namely mining.
She said it was sad that many Zambians in the mining sector had been sidelined to an extent where everything was left to foreign companies to operate, manage and even supply goods and services.
Nawakwi said Zambia was still behind with the management of its rich mineral resources when many Africa countries with similar resources like Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana had advanced as their nationals had been empowered through laws and policies to participate in their extractive industries and help create wealth for their nations.
"If you look at this country, we have produced many experts in mining who are Zambians but none of those brothers even owns a metre of an emerald mine or a copper mine. This is a complete contrast to countries like the neighbouring Tanzania, where the locals in that country now own gold mines. The situation we have in Zambia is also in complete contrast to countries like Ghana, where it's the Ghanaians who are the wealth creators of their country," Nawakwi said.
She said in situations where the total national wealth was left in foreign hands, it was difficult for the locals to appreciate or see any benefit.
Nawakwi said it was sad that almost everything was being outsourced in the mining industry, leaving Zambians with no jobs.
"Unless we realise that Zambia can only be developed by Zambians, then we will not see tangible development. In some of these mining companies, even repairing pumps underground is outsourced to Indians or Australians and other foreign nationals. Zambians are just left to sell on the streets of Kitwe. We must reverse this trend," Nawakwi said.
She said the government must not spend time fighting each other but must begin to address critical issues and people's concerns like the lack of business from the mining companies, which was causing their families much suffering.