Changes to mining tax set to be approved by cabinet on April 20
Zambia will return to a 30 percent corporate-income tax for mining companies and amend a royalty system that operators said would lead them to close pits, an official said. The cabinet of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer agreed to royalties of 9 percent for both underground and open-pit operations, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Parliament will review the amendments when it resumes in June. (Read more)
Essentially, it looks like we will be moving back to the old system but with less of an increment in underground mining royalties. More details will probably come out during the course of the week but it’s starting to look like this impasse will be behind us very soon.
However, the other impasse where there hasn't been much clarity are the new electricity tariffs which were given the go-ahead (together with changes for other consumers) by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) last year. They were challenged in court by a number of mining firms and no official word has been given out on where this matter is at. One thing is for certain though – mining companies (which consume over 50% of electricity generated in Zambia) cannot continue to pay subsidized rates – especially as the country continues to struggle to fund much needed investment in transmission and generating assets. This is another item to keep a close eye on in 2015.
Xenophobia attacks on foreigners intensify in South Africa
South African President Jacob Zuma has visited a refugee camp in the port city of Durban after a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence. Mr Zuma told those who had fled the violence that it went against South African values and that he would bring it to an end. He was jeered by some in the crowd who accused him of acting too slowly.
At least six people have died in xenophobic attacks in Durban, with violence spreading to other areas. (Read more)
Can the South African business community play a bigger role by putting pressure on their Government to act more sternly in preventing further deplorable and cowardly attacks by a section of their society? These events are denting the powerful South Africa brand and could also see other African countries where a plethora of SA businesses generate billions of dollars a year receive some blow-back (undeserved) as a response – which could exacerbate the situation. This also begs the question; In terms of economic growth, does South Africa need Africa more than Africa need South Africa?
Collum coal mine officially re-opened
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has re-commissioned the Collum Coal Mine in Sinazongwe District in Southern Province which is set to employ more than 1,000 workers. The mine, which will resume its operations on Tuesday, was placed under care and maintenance in 2012 after the Government revoked the license of Collum Coal Mining Industries due to persistent breaches of regulations.(Read more)
Second edition of Agri-tech Expo held in Chisamba
MORE than 11,000 visitors and 100 exhibitors are expected at this year’s Agritech Expo in which the hosts have invested US$500,000. This is as compared to the US$400,000 spent on the event last year. The event which will run from April 16 to 18 at Golden Agricultural Research Trust (GART) in Chisamba offers a range of free, practical workshop to assist farmers in the use of latest technologies to improve their productive capacity and become more competitive.(Read more)
Government set to secure $80M bridge infrastructure deal
GOVERNMENT is expected to seal an US$80 million trade deal with a world renowned United States of America (USA) bridge company, Acrow Bridge. Acrow Bridge specializes in prefabricated modular steel bridges solutions for permanent, temporal and emergency use. Zambian Ambassador to the United States Palan Mulonda said Acrow Bridges was in the process of concluding a trade deal with Zambian Government officials. Mr Mulonda said in an interview in Washington DC yesterday that Acrow Bridges was a renowned bridge construction company in the world and would roll-out more than 140 bridges in Zambia. (Read more)
Namibia set to begin issuing import/export permits at border posts
NAMIBIA will soon start processing import and export permits at border posts and remove other barriers to increase trade with its neighbours, including Zambia. Namibian High Commissioner to Zambia Leonard Nambahu assured Zambian exporters and importers that the Namibian authorities would soon start issuing export and import permits at its border posts to ease trade. He was responding to the complaints by exporters and importers from the two countries on the challenges of access to trade permits at border posts.(Read more)
DMMU warns of water/electricity rationing in 2015 after mixed rainfall
The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has warned that Zambia will be forced to ration water because of the poor rainfall pattern experienced this season. DMMU national coordinator Patrick Kangwa called on relevant stakeholders to take appropriate measures in anticipation of crop failure due to poor rainfall pattern.(Read more)
Trying to decipher this puzzle that is Zambia by using a variety of publicly available data (structured and unstructured) in conjunction with my own skill/experience. * * *