20 June 2012

Zambia: Get More Tax From Mines-ZEC

THE Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) has urged Government to raise more mining tax revenue to support social and economic infrastructure development in the country.

ZEC Secretary General Cleophas Lungu said it was time the Government raised more mining tax revenue for investment in critical sectors of the economy such as health and education.

Speaking at the Zambia Alternative Mining indaba in Lusaka yesterday, Father Lungu said raising of revenue from the mining industry would enable Zambians to benefit from the country's resource wealth.

"In this way, all Zambians can start to truly and sustainably benefit from their country's resource wealth. Political leaders must be exhorted to comply with the principle of social justice in determining the application, usage and distribution of funds gained from such inflows," he said.

Father Lungu said the Government also needs to establish mechanisms to conserve adequate revenue gleaned from the mining operations for future stability, growth, unforeseen downturns and securing the lives and well-being of the current and future generations.

He said it was important for all Zambians to be part of the development process which would ultimately ensure peace and security in the country.

Speaking at the same function, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Pukuta Mwanza said the taxation levied on the mines should equal the overall benefits and revenue gained from the mineral exports so that the revenue from the mines could be directed at improving the social services and upgrading infrastructures in the communities.

Reverend Mwanza said mining and natural resource management plays a critical role in the economies of the country hence the need to ensure that the mineral derived from the extractive industries benefit the communities.

"We have been concerned with the safety of mining operations and the management of toxic materials from the mineral processing activities. We should continue to raise concerns on the dangers of Uranium mining and the problems associated with the handling of mine waste and disposals of highly toxic material which cause tremendous air, underground and surface pollution," Reverend Mwanza said.

He said the trend poses a serious safety hazard to the people in the affected areas as well as causing damage to the natural environment as well as, wildlife and the disturbance the ecosystem.

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