Ailing president Edgar Lungu is slowly learning that he is not in charge of his government after Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba refused to heed his directive and yesterday 8th April 2015 deadline to change mineral royalty regime.
On March 25, 2015, Lungu directed the Minister of Finance Chikwanda and Minister of Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma to effect changes to the 2015 Mineral Royalty Tax by 8th April 2015 (yesterday).
But the Zambianwatchdog then revealed that Chikwanda had refused and actually threatened to resign if Lungu went ahead to effect the changes to the mines taxes because the PF government was totally bankrupt.
State House sources have now revealed that there is still a big impasse between Chikwanda and Lungu over the directives such that the deadline has not been met and nothing so far has been said.
Chikwanda has now further argued that any changes to Lungu’s directives will need Parliamentary approval because the law was already passed.
The Finance Minister further told Lungu to suggest where government would make other sources of income if the Mineral Royalty Tax policy was removed.
But as usual Lungu has no further ideas and suggestions on where government would raise other resources but he knows the PF was bankrupt.
In typical lack of vision, Lungu wrote letters to the two ministers on 25th March 2015 directing them to make changes by 8th April.
“After receiving submissions from individual mining companies and the Chamber of Mines, I have noted that the new tax regime poses a challenge to some mining houses. Some mines are high-cost while others are low-cost operations.
Obviously the mining industry has been affected by copper prices on the international market. It is clear that this unfavourable economic trend globally has been mainly on account of weak global demand for copper.
I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate my government’s resolve to continue putting dialogue at the centre of our governance systems. Dialogue between my government and the mines shall continue,” reads part of Lungu’s useless directive.