“The 2015 CBM-TEC will truly add value to the Zambia investment climate and help in networking local small and medium Jackson Sikamoenterprises with international players.”

Exclusive remarks by Mr Jackson Sikamo, President of the Zambia Chamber of Mines, prior to the second edition of CBM-TEC in Kitwe. For the second year in a row, the Chamber is officially endorsing CBM-TEC.

Zambia’s Mining sector contributes over 70 per cent to the country’s foreign exchange earnings. To demonstrate the importance of mining now, since completion of the privatization process in the year 2000, the sector has seen more than US$ 12 Billion new investments which have resulted in copper production rising. Aside from investing in improving operations of the mines, rehabilitating processing facilities, and opening up new mines significant investment has been made in Corporate Social Responsibility projects – health, education, roads rehabilitation, agriculture etc. These projects have assisted communities in alleviating poverty through employment, improving skills and creating opportunities for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs.

The Zambia Chamber of Mines recently launched a report detailing the contribution of Zambia’s mining sector to national economy and society. According to the ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals) report quoting submissions from government institutions such as the Zambia Revenue authority and Central Statistical Office, between the periods 1997 to 2006, the total contribution of the Mining Industry as a percentage of all tax collections by ZRA was averaging around 5 per cent. As the investments started maturing the levels started increasing progressively until the percentage reached a high of 44 per cent in 2011 and slightly dropped to 32 per cent in 2012.  Mineral royalties and company tax make up the bulky of the mineral taxes.

Expectations for  2015
There is a need to resolve the issue surrounding Value Added Tax Rule 18 and hoping for a speedy and constructive resolution on the new Mineral Royalty Tax with the Zambian government. The industry is also looking forward to a stable business environment and consistent policy framework to help the mining sector increase production so at to push up direct, indirect and induced employment which now stands at 147,000.

This Southern African country will need to reposition itself and continue to attract investment through initiatives such as trade epos and conferences.

It must be noted the trade exhibitions, especially with a mix of local and international companies provide an opportunity to Zambia to help achieve the idea of diversification.

Government and other players in the economy must:

•    Strive to achieve value addition to minerals and encourage a more robust manufacturing sector
•    Diversification of the economy to areas such as agriculture and  tourism
•    Create enabling environment for SMEs to grow in order to leverage off the mining sector
•    Skills development programmes and focus on Research and Development to enhance innovation

The 2015 CBM-TEC will truly add value to the Zambia investment climate and help in networking local small and medium enterprises with international players. The high-level conference during the expo provides wide ranging and resourceful topics such as how to integrate the local economy into the current mining boom, new power generation capacity-impact on the mining sector and the role of international supply and service companies.