JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT
For Immediate Release Saturday, March 28, 2020.
Extractive Transparency and Accountability Initiative Bill; A step in the right direction
LUSAKA – Implementing Partners under the Strengthened Accountability Programme (SAP II) wishes to commend cabinet for approving in principle, the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to provide for a legal framework to strengthen transparency and accountability in the management of mineral resources in Zambia.
As partners under SAP II which is for improved quality of life of Rights Holders (RHs, specifically, women, youth, the poor and vulnerable groups) in natural resource rich, rural and peri-urban areas of Zambia, we note that currently, both mining companies and government agencies are complying through some Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which is not legally binding.
We recognise that there is potential for the country’s mineral resources to be leveraged for economic transformation and broad based economic development. We are of the belief that prudent use of natural resources contributes to economic growth, sustainable development and reduction of poverty. However, we note with dismay that Zambians continue to experience debilitating poverty despite being endowed with abundant natural resources which includes minerals.
Among other things, the Extractive Transparency and Accountability Initiative Bill, 2020 is expected to provide for the mandatory disclosure of taxes and other payments including mining costs which extractive companies pay to the Government and what the Government receives as revenue from extractive companies.
It is a well-known fact that Zambia is a highly mineral-endowed state, which sits on top of the largest known reserves of copper in Africa. Therefore, there is need to provide for a legal framework to strengthen transparency and accountability in the management of mineral resources in the country.
The move taken by cabinet is a step in the right direction and we hope that communities where these extractive industries are located and the country at large will begin to fully benefit from revenues that will represent a true reflection of the income generated by the mining companies. Services such as improved roads, education and health infrastructure are some of the things that have eluded communities in the recent past.
The enhancement of transparency and accountability in payment originating from mining firms as well as receipts from Government will be the sort of information that will increase citizens understanding of the extractive industry and help them contribute to informed public debate.
We therefore call on the government to expedite the development and tabling of the Extractive Transparency and Accountability Initiative Bill for it has been long overdue.
WOMEN FOR CHANGE