Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD) president Charles Milupi says the manner in which government is handling the Konkola Copper Mines liquidation is sending fears among investors and anyone who will ultimately take over will be frightened.
And Milupi says the continued depreciation of the Kwacha shows that PF is incapable of building the economy.
In an interview, Milupi said he did not think government had made decisions backed by proper analysis.
“They carry out these decisions without proper analysis like ‘what is your concentrator cost? What is your smelter cost? What is your refinery cost? What’s your services cost?’ This sales tax, what is it imposing on your costs, how is it eating into your profitability? We don’t have anybody to do that. This is wrong. Now when you make pronouncements to take over the company in the environment that we live in, first of all, you are sending cold shivers in the investment world and also to those that support them. And we are talking about all these other countries whether it’s America, UK, and so on,” Milupi said.
“The other point is that government has so many parastatals [and] none of these parastatals is operating properly, whether it is Zesco, Zamtel, Zampost. Zampost is even failing to pay its workers. If you are failing to run these smaller parastatals, how can you run a complex thing like a mine? Because on parastatals they send cadres, they instruct them to give jobs to their relatives and their children and so on [and] that is what is going to happen when you take over KCM. And as a result, you will not be able to run it properly. Just before ZCCM was privatized, we were told that it was being subsidized to the tune of one million dollars per day (US $1) but if you look at KCM with their operations in Nchanga, in Konkola and so on, that level of subsidy, can this government which we have already said is broke, can they afford to subsidize or keep it operating?”
He said anyone who would ultimately invest in KCM would be frightened.
“They are going to make the situation worse. The other investors that can come in already they will be frightened by what has happened. So we require rational minds to look at these issues and address them properly. If it is Sales Tax or Value Added Tax, there are ways of analyzing,” Milupi said.
And Milupi said it was clear that PF was incapable of building the economy.
“The kwacha depreciation, when your economy loses esteem, that is what happens. The kwacha can only be sustained at high level if we are productive but we are not productive in this country. We are not producing anything. We are a consumptive nation. What the PF government under Mr Lungu was doing was [to] use reserves to sustain the kwacha and those reserves have run out completely. And others are saying that by June/July, our reserves will be down to one billion dollars [which] is less than three weeks import cover. To address it you need people who will come and address the economy, start building on the economy,” said Milupi.
“[The] PF have proven themselves that they are incapable of building up the economy so that that can be generating the foreign exchange that we deserve. All the economic sectors be it agriculture, mining, tourism are not performing well and agriculture is the waste. That is why we are going to have hunger. It sounds so complicated but we need people who will break these things and address them properly. Otherwise, we are fast moving towards the situation that happened in Zimbabwe because instead of addressing the issues, they are doing the opposite. Instead of cutting cost, they are increasing, instead of having better accountability, they are contracting loans and it’s loans that have put us into this situation.”