The news that Barrick Gold intends to suspend its operations at Lumwana mine in Solwezi at a time we thought that we are making some positive gains by attracting some giant mining firms such as Barrick Gold is very sad, says FDD president Edith Nawakwi.
Nawakwi said she is aware that Barrick Gold made several attempts to engage in dialogue with government but they have been snubbed because ‘this government does not value dialogue and does not care about the plight of the people who will be jobless when the mine shuts down.’
She said the attitude of the ruling Patriotic Front leaders in managing the entire country’s economy lives much to be desired. She said there is no way that at this juncture the government could fail to negotiate an arrangement were both the people and the mining sector could benefit.
‘Government’s intention when it transferred the mining sector in to private hands was to make the sector viable but not for it to completely detached itself from the sector,’ Nawakwi explained.
‘We as FDD want to tell this government that for the next 28 days that if there is anything they can do for the people of Zambia is to persuade investors to wait so that we can reopen dialogue between the business community and the government.
‘As FDD, we further urge Barrick Gold not shut down the mine but wait until the outcome of the elections. We also want to assure them that when we form government next January, ours will be a government with an open door policy to the business community and other stakeholders in the running of the country’s affairs.
‘Once we form government we want to forge a partnership of trust and mutual respect between government and investors not only those in the mining sector but the entire business community,’ Nawakwi said.
‘As FDD, we are greatly dismayed with the PF’s conduct regarding the treatment of investors since they got into office in 2011 and we wish to appeal to the business community to exercise patience as the current government has less than 30 days before it is booted out by the people in the next elections,’ she said.
Nawakwi caled on all well-meaning Zambians to work hard and ensure that ‘we escort the PF out of government and stop the confusion which they have taken to the business community before the country’s economy is completely ruined.’