…. that some opposition political parties are celebrating the failure by govt to reach a consensus with creditors
Livingstone… Tuesday November 21, 2023 (SMART EAGLES)
The Zambians Unity Peace and Development (ZUPED) has expressed shock that some opposition political parties and bloggers are celebrating the perceived failure by the UPND government to reach a consensus with Zambia’s creditors and has since urged government to focus on other alternatives such as mining sector.
The organization is confident that once Vedanta Resources fully takes over the operations of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), some of the challenges in the country will be a thing of the past.
Zambia’s official creditors including China rejected a deal the country struck with its international bondholders because they believed its “base case” scenario did not deliver debt relief comparable to what they offered in a separate deal.
But ZUPED President Ronnie Jere says it is very disheartening because this will affect the majority Zambian citizens.
Mr Jere emphasized that this is not a matter to joke about or indeed celebrate because of its impact on the country.
“As Zambians Unity Peace and Development we are highly disturbed by some social media happenings where we are seeing some members of the opposition political parties and some bloggers celebrating this perceived failure by the government to reach a consensus with creditors. We hope that people can become patriotic so much that when there is something going wrong in the country it should be a source of worry and not a source of celebration,” he said.
“We know that government is struggling to negotiate their debt and we are aware that IMF has reached a staff agreement with the Zambian government with the US$1.5 million loan. We want to congratulate government on that.”
The ZUPED President has encouraged the government to look at other alternatives such as mining sector saying the government can get something from this important sector.
He said since the government and Vedanta Resources signed the shareholders agreement and implementation agreement, it is important that the takeover process is expedited.
“Government should now be looking at other alternatives such as mining. We are happy that government signed stakeholders agreement and implementation agreement with Vedanta Resources over Konkola Copper Mines Plc but there are steps that need to be taken. Government should be serious and quickly take those steps so that the handing over KCM to Vedanta Resources can be expedited,” he added.
“We are happy with how this is moving but we think that there is need to make sure that by early December the whole process should have been finalized and ensure that Vedanta should be running KCM. At the moment we should have been thinking about the liquidator who is still at KCM and as long as the liquidator is there, it is difficult for Vedanta to do anything such as appointing of the board of directors.”
Mr Jere said government should quickly withdraw the Liquidator in order to make progress.
“Stakeholders are still anxiously waiting to see progress at the mining firm. Concerning the issue of registering the shareholders agreement and implementation agreement in the Zambian courts, we urge government to quickly push to register the two agreements in the courts so that operations can begin and people start benefiting from what Vedanta promised such as the US$250 million for contractors and suppliers as well as the salary increment for KCM workers,” said Mr Jere.
“At the moment, KCM is failing to pay salaries to its workers which is a source of worry.”
He also expressed concern with the performance of the kwacha against major convertible currencies saying this can be improved if the country exports more copper to earn the much needed forex.
He said this is possible if Vedanta can quickly start running KCM so as to increase copper production at the mining firm.