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By Zamchro Correspondent,  

President Rupiah Banda has disclosed that government will turn Mbala Air Force Base into an international airport to increase passage of tourists to the area. Mbala Air Force Base is one of the most sophisticated air bases on the continent of Africa.It was built with the help of the Russians during the time when Zambian was strongly pro-former Soviet Union and was considered by the Russians as a strong ally. Its runway with capacity to handle any kind of fleet (commercial or military planes) can prove to be one of the best international gateways to Northern, Luapula and Eastern provinces of Zambia.


Commercial flights to and from Mbala International Airport could boost the region as a strategic hub not only for commercial purposes but also public ones as well. Mbala Air Force Base has some of the most modern air traffic control systems that can easily be converted into civilian international aviation use with great mig-35-1ease.


Its altitude would make it one of the highest points to take off from in Africa reminiscent of Johannesburg International Airport though not as quite.


The President said this during his tour of Kasaba Bay Lodge where he intimated that several investors have approached the Zambian government with a view to invest in there. 


President Banda has cited Matetsi Wildlife of Zimbabwe which is planning to invest an initial amount of $8 million in Kasaba Bay lodge once given the lease. The Zambian leader said government is working hard to ensure that investors set up businesses in the Northern circuit tourism sector which also includes Luapula province.


And Matetsi Wildlife Director, Charles Davy, who met the President, said he has been asked to push in a proposal which the Zambian government will look at. Mr. Davy said the development plan for the area is to turn it into an internationally competitive resort.  


The President said Northern Province has a lot of potential that government wants to turn into reality for the benefit of the people and the country. Speaking after touring Kasaba bay lodge, Thursday, the President said the lodge will play a big role in the promotion of the northern circuit to tourism. 


Katanga Province Governor, Moses Katumbi

Katanga Province Governor, Moses Katumbi

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has given Zambia the go ahead to tar the pedicle road. Katanga Province Governor, Moses Katumbi says Zambia can recover the money spent on the road by charging toll gate fees.


Mr. Katumbi says President Joseph Kabila has agreed to the plan by the Zambian Government to tar the road. He was speaking soon after meeting mines minister, Maxwell Mwale and Copperbelt minister Mwansa Mbulakulima in Ndola, Thursday.


Mr. Katumbi said the meeting discussed how best the Zambian government can access copper concentrates from the DRC. He said existing relations between Zambia and the DRC should be strengthened to ensure development in both countries.


And Mr. Mbulakulima said the ban on maize exports to the DRC by the Zambian Government is due to the shortage of maize in the country. Mr. Mbulakulima was answering questions from DRC journalists who wanted to know why the government has banned the export of maize to the former Zaire.


And Tourism Minister, Catherine Namugala disclosed to Zambian Chronicle that government has released K20 billion for the construction of a good road network to make Lake Tanganyika area more accessible.


Ms. Namugala said the best way to enhance tourism in the Northern circuit is to engage in private and public partnership. President Banda who was on a tour of development projects in Kasama has since returned to Lusaka.


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We are at cross-roads and as much as there are a lot of other issues to discuss, we are trussed by commonalities that fate has brought us. We have to come up with the next CEO of the Zambian Enterprise in less than 90 days following the premature death of Levy – MHSRIP.


Democracy is like free enterprise, as social Darwinism is to society so is democracy to political morality. It is important that the next president be connected with the best Zambian brains, not only from within but also from without.


One of the beauties and the tenets of democracy lies in its ability to bring out the best within a collective. All things being equal, the best within a system tend to rise up. Zambia’s greatest asset does not lie in the mineral wealth that lay beneath our land.


That asset is not endowed in any other form of congeniality Zambians are well-known for either, rather it lies in the kind of posterity we envision for ourselves using the best brains available now. Some of the world’s greatest leaders and savvy entrepreneurs have achieved great success by simply hiring the best of the best from the best.


Think tank organizations around the world, within countries and communities have been known to be great sources of objective information necessary to govern and help create problem solving modules that are scientific in nature thereby producing the optimal good.


We at the Zambian Chronicle have long identified the need for the next President to tap into these brains and will soon be creating a new “Think Tank” called brainstorm. Out of our current 500 contacts in our free subscription files, about 150 of you hold Master’s degree and or PhDs.


In fact, if you recently received an email from us entitled “Yours is one of the best brains Zambia has ever produced”; it is because you are one of the 150 we have identified as such so far. Our “brainstorm” think tank is a precursor to more reliable and credible sources of information so direfully needed to bring ourselves up from down under.


We will advocate and promulgate for ways and or means so Zambians can control factors of production thereby generating real wealth in this 21st century global economy. We will weigh in on serious government decisions prior to enactment and or undertaking in similar mode other think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, Tellus Institute, Heritage Foundation, Strategic Foresight Group, Cato Institute, Centre for Policy Research, and Observer Research Foundation do outlining both merits and demerits to the said policy.


It is crucial that we get started now and while we realize the next president will really be in a care-taker position until the next general elections, we also realize that now is our time. Brilliant Zambian brains have been ignored at our own peril. They keep enhancing GNPs for foreign nations immensely while our only benefit is from remittances when more can be achieved.


We believe that part of our job is highlighting Zambian potential as we have done in past in articles such as Zambians Abroad – A Strategic Economic Engine For The Zambian Enterprise …, Easy Steps For Zambians Abroad To Buy & Sell Stock @ LuSE, 5 Things The Zambian Enterprise Ought To Achieve In 2008 …, Zambians are smart, Cambridge University pyschologists once proved that …, National Development Corner: Barj Dubai – World’s Tallest Building Is Now In Dubai …


Because Zambia is greater than any single one of us, we believe that enough is enough when it comes to depravity and now is our time to take back the enterprise using Zambian bred ideas that have already been proven and are actually currently working in the global market place …


We therefore believe that “brainstorm” is the best way forward and we will be in consultation with some selected few on how best this will be implemented.


We are in this thing together …


Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.


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By Shapi Shacinda

LUSAKA, Feb 29 (Reuters) – Zambia has asked foreign mining companies for alternative proposals following their criticism of planned tax changes, officials said on Friday.

“As a committee, we believe the government has done its research worldwide on which they are basing their proposal,” Godrey Beene, chairman of a Zambian parliamentary committee dealing with mining issues, told the state media.

“We have therefore given mining companies time to go and prepare a counter proposal which they should submit to us any time this week.”

He did not indicate if the proposed rates by the government would be cut.

The head of the Chamber of Mines of Zambia, Frederick Bantubonse, said foreign miners would pay more than the stated 47 percent in effective mining taxes when the new regime comes into force from April, compared to 31.7 percent now.

The government has proposed a windfall profit tax at a minimum of 25 percent and an increase in mineral royalty to 3.0 percent from 0.6 percent.

It also plans a variable profit tax at 15 percent on taxable income above eight percent and to raise corporate tax to 30 percent from 25 percent.

Bantubonse said the mining firms had studied the proposed tax increases and found they would be higher than 47 percent and detrimental to their operations and future investments.

“(Mining) companies have scrutinized … new mining tax proposals for their own operations and in every case have found that the effective tax rate will be higher than (the) calculated 47 percent,” he said in a statement.

The government had not called mining firms for a meeting to discuss the tax rates, despite numerous promises.

“To date, no such discussions or consultations have taken place. All (mining firms) with development agreements are willing to discuss and renegotiate the terms and conditions of their agreements,” Bantubonse said.

Zambia’s biggest copper producer is Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources (VED.L: Quote, Profile, Research).

Others are Mopani Copper Mines, a venture of Swiss firm Glencore International AG [GLEN.UL], First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) and Chibuluma Mine, a unit of Metorex (MTXJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research). Australia’s Equinox Minerals (EQN.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) owns Lumwana Mining Plc. (Reporting By Shapi Shacinda; editing by Michael Roddy)

© Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

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ü      Create A New People Driven Constitution

The greatest single most achievement the Zambian Enterprise can accomplish for 2008 as a milestone is to produce a new constitution using the National Constitution Conference (NCC) as a vehicle.  

If all stakeholders felt that their constitution provided for equal opportunities, guaranteed civil liberties and protection for all, the enterprise would have achieved strides worth thousands in light years.  

In that regard it is highly palatable that peace loving individuals will give the NCC delegates all the needed support to achieve this milestone. The October 6, 2001 issue of the Economist magazine carried a story about Turkey’s Constitutional Amendments.

“… MANY Turks have long thought of their parliament as a bunch of buffoons interested mainly in making money, not laws. That may change, as the 550-member chamber keeps up a marathon session to pass a set of reforms that are intended to clean the face of Turkey’s constitution and reinforce the country’s still rather wobbly democracy.”

At issue was the fact that both political philosophies represented in the Turkish parliament approved what seemed on paper as the best brand of policies any mid eastern nation would espouse but the ideas only looked great on paper.

We are hoping the great genius minds of the smart people of our enterprise respresenting us in NCC will come up with a document that can stand the test of time. These delegates are the framers; we are hopeful they will envision a Zambia that will be there for centuries to come because they framed the right manuscript on behalf of us all. 

ü      Deliberate Infra-Structure Investment

Infra-structural development is about capacity building and very critical to national development. Without capacity economies don’t grow with healthy veracities.

Capacity enables a country to handle tasks with great ease and lack thereof creates auxiliary derivatives such as development of shanty compounds in the middle of a metropolitan area.  

In this modern day and age infra-structure capacity does not refer to road, railways, subways, modern airports, etc. alone, it also refers communication apparatus such as turning Mwembeshi into a super information highway, for instance. 

It involves well stocked libraries in city centers, schools, colleges and universities with a deliberate attempt to have all these connected to the internet.  Tunisians did it and their population is one of the most literate on our continent, it is no wonder they have poverty levels at 4% of their population with nearly a tenth of natural resources when compared to us. 

It involves well planned town, cities and provinces with town planners whose eyes are on the ball. Japanese planners have 15 year projections with simulations accompanying … it is no wonder they enjoy one of the highest qualities of life in the entire world.  

With a billion dollars in reserves, the Zambian Enterprise has more than enough in it’s back pocket to invest into infra-structure that matters …

ü      Create Economic Zones In Each Province

One of the greatest achievements of the UNIP government was the creation of provincial economic zones deliberately planned to urbanize rural areas. They were not termed that way but their objectives met all the prerequisites of such.  

Livingstone had ITT Supersonic and Livingstone Motor Assemblers, Mansa had Mansa batteries, lead and manganese mines, Chipata had Eastern Industries that made Eagle bicycles, Mongu had canneries and so did Mwinilunga; the copperbelt was an economic engine, the list is endless. 

When the MMD came into power they literately had no clue what they wanted to accomplish except privatization. In fact, they mistook democracy in many instances with privatization. They abolished the office of National Planning because they thought it advocated for a command economy. 

Using other forums at the time we advocated for national planning that had a neo-spin to it, laid down the benefits of such schemes but it wasn’t until the current president came into office that they reinitiated planning mostly tailored on proposal of this author. 

Well planned economic zones not only mitigate urban migration en masse, they also help accelerate national development at exponential rates well across the board.  Besides if you fail to plan, you are in an essence planning to fail …  

One reason, Malaysia stood out among the Asian tigers was because it deliberately initiated economic zones and today the world’s tallest buildings are not in Western Europe nor are they in the Americas but in Central Asia.  

ü      Continue Keeping Macro-Economic Factors Under Control

Macro-economic factors and dwindling investor confidence are always behind corporate underperformance.  Among the macro factors concerns over interest rates, high oil prices, staple commodity prices and jitters over the reserve currency weakness impact economic growth … 

These factors lead to markets savagely punishing companies thus failing to produce the goods and services at optimal capacity. Companies that record profits tend to be tarred with the same brush and their share price don’t respond to their profits.  

When the market starts to focus back on company-specific issues rather than the macro-economic picture and look at those that are turning themselves around, performance picks up. 

There is no doubt that Fundanga at BOZ and Mangande at Finance have been among the best choices our enterprise has picked for their respective jobs but short term gains can easily blur one’s focus. 

It is therefore extremely necessary that they keep their eyes on the ball with the big picture in mind because if we don’t continue keeping the macro-economic factors under check, the unprecedented 85% growth LuSE experienced last year might be lost … 

Strict investment philosophies in the market tend to sometimes make publicly traded companies to under perform but investor confidence makes people start looking at companies showing above average growth so long macro-economic factors are in favor.  

ü      Reform Tax Rules

The old adage of two things one should be sure of being taxes and death remains true to this day. So weaknesses in the institutional framework need to quickly be identified to make necessary adjustments. 

One of the most important factors in good policy-making is the strengthening of the institutions that contribute to it. The tax policy-making process should heavily rely on institutional strength to see it through periods of major transitions such as our Enterprise is going through right now … 

Dealing with enforcement and operational policies is not only a good initiative when it comes to strengthening the treasure, it also helps narrow the role of the other revenue  collecting units thereby reducing excesses while increasing proceeds. 

Parliamentary scrutiny of tax proposals tends to be increasingly ineffective as tax legislation becomes more complex. This is because our current Members of Parliament have no dedicated independent groups of economists and lawyers to support them on budgetary matters. 

Outside the framework of government,  institutions like the University of Zambia’s economic studies should provide virtually more and not just research-based independent economic analysis on taxation policy.  

Business leaders should also be encouraged in the systematic use of consultations, at least on business tax issues. Drawing business in to contribute to the refinement of ideas emerging from government helps fill the gap left by the broader weakness of institutions.  

But business should not be responsible for developing tax policy as this leads to signs of consultation-fatigue. Their role should be limited to consultancy and be used as a barometer that measures what impact tax proposals have on operational efficiencies. 

Given the importance of institutional strength to consistency and stability in policy-making and the classy-daddy-3.gifimportance of that consistency and stability in maintaining economic growth and development, there is a strong case for more comparative inter-jurisdictional work to be carried out on the institutional framework of tax policy-making.  

That’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion. 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

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LUSAKA (AFP) — Zambia’s international reserves hit over a billion dollars this year, the highest figure in the country’s history, the central bank governor announced on Saturday.
Caleb Fundanga said Zambia had recorded 1.1 billion dollars in foreign reserves up from 706 million dollars that the country accumulated in 2006.

“Zambia has continued to record favourable external sector performance resulting in an accumulation of gross international reserves of 1.1 billion in December 2007,” Fundanga said in a statement.

“This is the highest the country has ever accumulated,” he added.

He said Zambia’s economy is expected to grow by 6.2 percent in 2008, while the country’s inflation will remain at the single-digit level.

“The overriding objective of monetary policy in 2008 is to consolidate the gains made in establishing price stability by achieving a third consecutive year of single-digit inflation,” Fundanga said.

Zambia’s inflation rate stands at 8.9 percent.

He said the country will face major challenges next year due to the projected rise in prices of petroleum products at the international market and the higher electricity tariffs in the southern African region.

Copyright © 2007 AFP

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MUMBAI: The Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Resources is close to increasing its stake in Konkola Copper Mines in Zambia to 79.4% by buying out a portion of the Zambian government’s holding.

The London-listed Vedanta, which owns 51% stake in Konkola, wants to increase the stake by buying out Zambia Copper Investments’ (ZCI) 28.4% stake in the largest copper mine there. The state-run ZCCM Investment Holdings holds 20.6% stake in Konkola.

“For the acquisition of 51% stake, Vedanta had paid $48.2 million in 2004. As the valuation of the copper mines doubled in three years, it will be curious to know how much Vedanta would be paying for ZCI’s stake,” said a source close to the development. Senior Vedanta officials said the process of acquiring the stake is on. They declined to reveal further details.

Vedanta has been discussing with ZCI the call option, which was agreed when Vedanta bought a 51% stake from the Zambian government in 2004. The company could not exercise the call option as the two parties failed to agree on the valuation of ZCI’s shares.

Adding fuel to fire, Zambian economists and investment analysts have voiced their opposition to Vedanta’s buy-out of national resource. ZCI has only Konkola stake as its asset at present. Vedanta chairman Anil Agarwal recently announced that the two parties had resolved their differences and that an independent valuation is in progress.

While ZCI chairman Tom Kamwendo was quoted by a Zambian daily, “With the resolution of differences over valuation, the next step for the company is to offer its interest to Vedanta.”

Vedanta shares were hoverng below 2,030 pence on London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, down 1.36% on speculation that ZCI may sell its stake through the Lusaka Stock Exchange. On November 23, the share had shot up 12% on market buzz that a Chinese mining company may buy out the promoters’ stake in Vedanta.

“ZCI’s shares in Konkola are being offered to Vedanta rather than being sold through the Lusaka exchange or sold in any other way because that is the provision of the legal agreement that was reached at the time Vedanta was acquiring its current 51% shareholding in Konkola,” said Mr Kamwendo. On public misgivings about the stake increase, Mr Kamwendo said such concerns were better resolved between the Zambian authorities and Vedanta.

Source: Economic Times

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UNCTAD’s Blue Book on Best Practice in Investment Promotion and Facilitation of Zambia has won Africa Investor Magazine’s 2007 award in the category of ‘Smart Regulation’.

The award represents an important endorsement of UNCTAD’s Blue Book programme, which assists African governments to strengthen their investment environment by developing action plans of clearly detailed and practical measures that can be implemented within a year.

The Blue Book of Zambia, which recommends investment promotion activities and minor legislative or regulatory changes, was specifically designed to help the Government achieve the objective of, in its own words, “creating a vibrant private sector that would be exposed to competitive best practices at the international level.”

Zambia’s Blue Book is the seventh produced by UNCTAD with financing from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.Blue Books have been produced for five countries in Africa (Ghana, Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) and two in South-East Asia (Cambodia and Lao PDR).
Zambian Vice President Rupiah Banda presents the Blue Book at its launch in March 2007

Zambian Vice President Rupiah Banda presents the Blue Book at its launch in March 2007.

Since the Blue Book was launched by Zambian Vice President H.E. Rupiah Banda in March this year, seven of the ten measures are either under implementation or have been completed, some with direct UNCTAD assistance.

This includes an investor forum for Indian pharmaceutical companies and the design of a business linkages programme. The book also led to strong debate between the government and the private sector on the liberalization of the international voice gateway.

The high rate of implementation is in no small part due to the personal commitment of the Vice President to the project; high level leadership is a key feature of UNCTAD’s Blue Books.

Source: UNCTAD

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