The Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement has said the economic projections of a better performing Zambian economy were and still remain theoretical.
Movement Coordinator, Chishala Mwamba, stated that this was because a number of issues remained unresolved in the mining sector.
Mwamba said this in a statement issued in Lusaka on Tuesday.
“On September 5, 2023, the UPND government promised the people of Zambia that with the official announcement of Vedanta’s return to Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), it will only take 90 days to complete the transition process and fully handover,” he recalled.
Mwamba noted that as of last week, the 90 day mark period had passed and yet the necessary legal formalities of removing the Provisional Liquidator still remained uninitiated.
He acknowledged how strategic the mines were to the Zambian economy.
“So when the news finally came, the people of the Copperbelt were overjoyed, and highly expectant that government would deliver on the 90 day period given or probably even less,” Mwamba said.
He expressed sadness that after the 90 day period elapsed, there was unfortunately nothing concrete coming from government on the fate of KCM.
Mwamba stated that as a community, it was fully aware that KCM Celine Naire has not yet initiated the legal formalities of the transition process by submitting the scheme of arrangements in the Courts of Law.
He noted that the reasons for the delay remained a mystery to everyone.
“The signs have been clear to all stakeholders, especially government and all economists that, as long as KCM and other big mines remain non-functional, the whole projections of our economy growing at over 4.7 percent next year will remain mere rhetoric,” Mwamba emphasized.
He said it was this non-operationalization of KCM and Mopani that had led to the reduction of copper production countrywide and thereby leading to the economic downturn the country was experiencing.
Mwamba argued that as long as the mining sector was not sorted, inflation would keep rising, the Kwacha would keep depreciating, inequality would keep getting wider and unemployment would keep on rising.
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