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Luapula chiefs join in rejecting proposed $72 billion Vietnamese investment project


The Luapula Council of Chiefs has joined other stakeholders in rejecting the proposed US$72 billion Vietnamese rice investment project spearheaded by VietZam Development Corporation Limited.

Chief Chisunka, Chairperson of the Luapula Council of Chiefs, stated that the traditional leaders could not allow the allocation of land to foreign investors for a period of 99 years.

During a consultation meeting with VietZam in Mansa on Wednesday, Chief Chisunka urged the government to review the relevant land laws to ensure that only Zambians have access to lengthy lease periods.

He emphasized that Luapula Province, like other provinces, did not have the proposed two million hectares of land to allocate to a single investment.

“We cannot allow our dambos and swamps to be titled, as those are common use areas for our subjects and are recharge points for our rivers,” Chief Chisunka stated.

The traditional leader also expressed concerns about the proposed tax exemptions, stating that they would result in a loss of revenue for the councils and the government.

He rejected visa exemptions for foreign staff and granting citizenship outside the provisions of the law.

Read More: Zambia Land Alliance raises concerns over proposed 99 years land lease to Vietnamese investor

“We cannot allow one company to have a monopoly in the rice production sector. We do not believe that the company has the financial capacity to develop the proposed project,” Chief Chisunka asserted.

He further claimed that the project was not in good faith, as most documents reviewed showed that the company was more interested in mining than agriculture.

Chief Chisunka urged the government and all stakeholders to respect the wishes of the traditional leaders and not to use any laws or legislation, such as the Compulsory Acquisition of Land Act, that would not work in the best interest of the Zambian people.

The rejection by the Luapula Council of Chiefs aligns with the sentiments of other stakeholders who have expressed similar concerns about the potential impacts of the investment project on local communities and resources.

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