PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE…
DR. MUSOKOTWANE’S 2024 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK IS NOT ATTAINABLE WITHOUT THE CONCLUSION OF THE VEDANTA-KCM TRANSITION PROCESS:
By the Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement (Chingola/Chililabombwe Consortium).
The Minister of Finance recently spoke about Zambia’s potential economic path for 2024.
It is all our desire that, our nation starts to function optimally in terms of its economy.
However, the economic outlook laid out by Dr. Musokotwane remains blurred and unattainable in the light of the non-functionality of key mining assets, especially KCM.
Key among the Ministers predictions for 2024 include: projected economic growth rate of 4.7%, improved foreign exchange performance, reduced inflation rate and stable interest rates among other indicators.
The truth is, this is not the first time such predictions have been made, and so far, no economic measures meant to bolster the economy seem to be helping. Including the increase in statutory reserve ratio rates and the consistent budgetary support we have been receiving from IMF and the World Bank.
The only way we will have a fully functioning economy that promises sustainable economic growth, is if the Vedanta-KCM transition is concluded promptly.
We appreciate the efforts that have been made so far in resolving this matter. But the Creditor Scheme of Arrangements process aught to be hastened too in order to truly realize the desired positive economic outlooks.
Production in the mining sector has gone down to less than 800 thousand metric tonnes per annum, yet we are hoping to reach 3 million metric tonnes by 2030. It is not possible.
Our economy depends on the mining sector to function, with over 70% of our foreign earnings emanating from mining activities. That is why without giving KCM back to Vedanta, little or nothing will be achieved in our quest to arrest the Kwacha from depreciating, to keep inflation rate and interest rates under check, to reduce the high unemployment levels in our country (especially in Chingola and Chililabombwe), to increase real wages and to sustainably reduce poverty levels for millions of Zambians.
As a community, we desire to see Vedanta take over KCM as soon as possible.
Vedanta’s commitment to make an investment of over $1billion dollars is what our economy desperately needs at the moment. Their commitment to paying off suppliers the sum of $250 million dollars, injecting 20 million dollars in CSR activities and increasing workers salaries is what our local commuties need. Especially young people who have been languishing in unemployment since 2019 when the mine was placed under liquidation.
As long as this aspect of our economy is not attended to, we should forget about the projected economic growth rate of 4.7%, and other potential benefits that come with a thriving economy.
We hope government acts fast on our plight.