Editor's PickPower and Politics

Patriotic Front demands status of $1.5 billion debts owed by Vedanta, as new deal takes effect


Patriotic Front (PF) presidential Candidate, Emmanuel Mwamba, has demanded that government should publish the settlement agreement made with Vedanta Resources regarding the Konkola Copper Mines’ (KCM) liabilities of about US$1.5billion.

Vedanta had been granted control of KCM with the mining giant pledging $1billion investment in the next five years, $250million to settle unpaid bills to suppliers and contractors and $20million in Community Social Responsibility programmes.

The mining firm had agreed to a billion-dollar settlement with state-owned ZCCM-IH entity to regain control of KCM and bring an end to court processes and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law arbitration process that was being held in Capetown, South Africa.

Mwamba issued the demand in a statement distributed in Lusaka on Saturday and made available to Zambia Monitor.

“Government has failed to disclose the details of the agreement especially as regards to KCM’s total liabilities of $1.5billion debt owed to; ZESCO, Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), tax arrears to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), statutory liabilities to National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and other outstanding bills.

Mwamba said government should show transparency in the deal by also disclosing the names and details of the negotiating team.

Read More: Vedanta Resources regains control of Konkola mines, pledges over $1 billion in investments

He said government was obliged to disclose the Vedanta/KCM agreement because it was bound to transparency and public accountability values.

“Zambians need to know what concessions and write-offs have been forced on ZESCO, ZRA and NAPSA and other government agencies and the subsequent loss of government revenue that this deal has brought,” Mwamba said.

He wondered whether government had been forced to write-off possible revenue which was probably money more than the bail-out that government was seeking from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Credit Facility.

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