THE Government should maintain the 10 per cent duty on exports of raw and semi-processed minerals to encourage local value addition and create jobs, Zalco Kabwe Limited managing director Hussein Safieddine has said.
Mr Safieddine said in Lusaka that the Government should expedite the granting of incentives to local companies involved in value addition and ignore calls for the removal of the 10 per cent duty by some mining companies.
Kansanshi Copper Mines recently said it was stuck with about 60,000 tonnes of copper concentrates due to limited smelter capacity coupled with the 10 pe rcent duty on exports of ore and concentrates.
But Mr Safieddine said Zambia had enough capacity to process the concentrates locally.
"It will be very sad for the country to lose the benefit of processing the concentrates within Zambia. We need to protect jobs and encourage local value addition," he said.
He said Zalco's copper rod manufacturing plant with a capacity of 2,000 tonnes per month was only utilizing an average of 100 tonnes due to high costs of raw materials.
"We have been requesting the Government to give us incentives since October last year. We have had visits from various ministries whose officials have congratulated us on what we are doing but no action has been taken," he said.
Mr Safieddine said Kabwe desperately needed employment and enabling manufacturers like Zalco operate at full capacity by granting them incentives would automatically create hundreds of new jobs for the local people.
He said Zalco had made submissions to the Government on how it could put in place incentives to make the copper fabrication industry more competitive and attract investments.