Former Special Assistant to late President Levy Mwanawasa Policy and Project Implementation and Monitoring says the sale of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to Vedanta by the Movement for Multiparty Democracy ( MMD) government was handled in accordance with the law.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lusaka, Wednesday, Mr. Jack Kalala said contrary to some assertions that termed the sale as shameful, it was handled professionally and in accordance with the law to benefit Zambians.
Mr. Kalala said US $25 million was part of the cash benefit the country realized from the resale of KCM after Anglo-America Corporation (AAC) its initial owners had abandoned the mine.
“In terms of cash consideration, in addition to the US $25 million paid by Vedanta in 2005, Anglo – American Corporation has paid US $20 million to the Zambian government as compensation in 2002 for abandoning the mines while the World Bank paid US $20 million in 2005. Therefore, the total amount realized from the resale of KCM was US $65 million unlike the 1998 sale of US $25 million,” Mr. Kalala said.
He said it was also important to note that the sale of mines was a pre-condition given to Zambia under Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) in which the country benefited from the cancellation of foreign debts amounting to US $7 billion.
Mr. Kalala added that the attaining of HIPC was key to the growth that the country had achieved since 2005.
He further stated that the Mwanawasa government also introduced the windfall tax from which it raised US $485 million that was reserved in a special account at the Bank of Zambia by the year 2008.
Meanwhile, Mr Kalala has urged stakeholders to emulate late President Mwanawasa who concentrated on delivering to the people.
He said there is need for stakeholders to find solutions to why KCM had failed to operate profitably as it did during the MMD regime.
There has been continued uncertainty surrounding government’s decision to place KCM under liquidation with some stakeholders citing the sale of the mine to Vedanta resources back in 2004 as root cause of current problems at the facility.