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By Times Reporter

PARLIAMENT yesterday heard that Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) owed foreign and local suppliers about K180 billion as of December 31 last year.

Mines and Mineral Development Deputy Minister, Maxwell Mwale said KCM owed local contractors K129,961,494, 240 while foreign suppliers were owed K51,898, 038,400.

Mr Mwale was responding to a question from Chipili member of Parliament (MP) Davies Mwila (PF) who wanted to know how much was owed to local and foreign suppliers by the mining firm as of December 2007.

He said 60 per cent of the suppliers were local and told the House that KCM had a 30-day credit period with all the suppliers and contractors.
“Local and foreign suppliers are normally paid within the 30-day period,” he said.

Mr Mwale also told the House that KCM was dealing with over 3,000 Zambian registered suppliers and 50 foreign suppliers.

And in a follow up question, Mr Mwila also wanted to know why KCM had brought in 300 Indian workers to construct the smelter.

Mr Mwale said the ministry had no information regarding the employment of 300 Indians and urged the MP to check with the ministry of Home Affairs.

And debating the policy statement presented by Energy and Water Development Minister Kenneth Konga, Bahati MP Besa Chimbaka (PF) said there was need to develop the energy sector in the country because it played a critical role in development.

Mr Chimbaka said Luapula Province had experienced a lot of power outages and load shedding.
He said the power outages were chasing away potential investors in the area.

He called for the rehabilitation of Musonda Falls, which he said would help in curbing the power outages.

Namwala MP Robby Chizhyuka (UPND) said the country needed to have reliable power and fuel supply.

Major Chizhyuka said there was need to improve on the national oil reserves so that the country did not have problems when Indeni Petroleum refinery was shut.

Maj Chizhyuka said the 14 days oil reserve stocks were not sufficient. He called for the operationalisation of most of the fuel terminals that were not currently being used.

He suggested that the Government should consider exploiting coal power stations.
Maj Chizhyuka said coal stations were easy to set up as an interim measure, while the Government was rehabilitating the hydro power stations.

Source: Times of Zambia