WE will not surrender our shares for free, says United Quarries.On Wednesday, chief government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili announced that Cabinet had resolved to ban foreigners from engaging in poultry, quarry, block making and domestic haulage, unless a Zambian entrepreneur holds a minimum of 50 per cent shareholding in such companies.
But United Quarries representative Jason Yu said the company would not offload its shares to Zambians for free and said they would close down if they could not find reliable Zambians to buy their shares.
“We actually just saw the story from the papers but we cannot give out our shares for free.
We will need money and people who are reliable if we are to partner with them,” he said.
“Maybe we can even just sell the whole thing if we are given reasonable offers. I cannot lie, it is not easy.”
Yu explained that United Quarries was a family business that has existed in Zambia
for over ten years and found the approach taken by government as a hasty one.
“First they say we give up the controlling share and then do all this in six months…If we cannot find a local partner with reasonable offers within six months, we will shut down our quarry,” said Yu.
And some residents constructing houses have expressed concern at the government’s decision to ban foreign block makers.
“Yes, it is great to see government empowering Zambians but the problem we have is that Zambian blocks are not as good as those made by the Egyptians. The ones made by Zambians usually crack easily because they put too much sand,” complained a Salama Park resident, Anna Mulenga, adding that having foreigners on the market had brought competition and ultimately improved quality of blocks.