Opinion: Is The Reduction In Fuel Prices Sustainable?

Zambians have every right to express their dissatisfaction with the reduction of fuel prices that has been made by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB). Petrol has been reduced from K12.5 to K11.67; Diesel reduced from K10.72 to K9.87 and Kerosene … Continued

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Zambians have every right to express their dissatisfaction with the reduction of fuel prices that has been made by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB). Petrol has been reduced from K12.5 to K11.67; Diesel reduced from K10.72 to K9.87 and Kerosene reduced from K6.81 to K6.50. The impact that this will have on reducing the cost of doing business is very negligible. From the sentiments that have been expressed from a cross section of society, Zambians expect an adjustment that will lead to a reduction in the cost of living which has risen sharply in the last few years. For a motorist who spends an average of K1,000 per month on petrol, the total saving that will arise as a result of this reduction is only about K66. This is clearly not enough to compensate the sharp increases in the prices of basic food items and electricity that occurred in the first half of 2017. I have no reason to doubt that Minibus & Taxi operators will not even entertain the thought of reducing their fares. However, we should appreciate the fact that this reduction is proportional to the appreciation of the kwacha in the last few weeks against other major currencies. In as much as the reduction is insignificant, it’s only fair that ERB should pass on this little benefit that has arisen. It is common practice by most traders to quickly increase the prices of their products and services when the Kwacha depreciates. However, when there’s an appreciation, they are usually reluctant to adjust their prices downwards. We appreciate the fact that Zambia is a free market economy and government cannot interfere in the pricing of most products. Traders are free to sell their merchandise at any price as long as buyers are willing to pay. The laws of demand and supply influence the prices of most products on the market. However, it’s good business practice to pass on the benefits that might arise whenever there’s a reduction in the cost of inputs. ERB has simply passed on the benefit has arisen as a result of the appreciation of the Kwacha. Any adjustment in the pump price of fuel has a ripple effect that affects almost every aspect of our economy. Therefore, our primary focus as a nation should be finding sustainable ways of strengthening the Kwacha. It is therefore imperative, that government continues implementing policies that will lead to further strengthening of the kwacha. There are several reasons that led to the appreciation of the Kwacha in the last few weeks. The reduced rate of inflation, monetary policy changes by the bank of Zambia and increase in lending rates that have attracted foreign investment have clearly had a role to play. However, this appreciation is mainly driven by the increase in copper prices on the international market. Our government has absolutely no control over metal prices on the international market. This makes our economy vulnerable to depressed metal prices in the future. The government should therefore strive to implement policies that will lead to gains that are backed by increased productivity not just in mining but in other key subsectors such as Agriculture and tourism. This is the only way they can guarantee a sustainable appreciation of the kwacha against other major currencies and a meaningful reduction in the pump price of fuel in the long run. Meanwhile, today, 8th August, 2017, OPEC and non-OPEC officials were holding a second day of meetings in Abu Dhabi to discuss ways to boost compliance with their oil output-cutting pact. The primary objective of these meetings is to boost oil prices that have been falling in the recent past. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers are cutting production by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until March 2018 to get rid of a glut and support prices. I remain hopeful that the relevant offices here in Zambia are following these developments and making plans on how to mitigate the imminent increase in oil prices in the near future. I ‘am also hopeful that our “able leadership†will not just fold their arms and say “The increase is globalâ€. They will certainly devise mechanisms now, to mitigate the effects of this imminent increase in the not so distant future. Blessings Kafwanka Business & Financial Analyst The post Opinion: Is The Reduction In Fuel Prices Sustainable? appeared first on Zambia Reports.

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Zambia’s ‘Real’ Debt Stands At $30 Billion – Dr. Nevers Mumba

Former MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba says Zambia real debt stands at US $30 billion disputing finance minister Felix Mutati’s projection which is quoted at $7.2 billion. Dr Mumba, who is now one of the prominent supporters of UPND leader … Continued

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Former MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba says Zambia real debt stands at US $30 billion disputing finance minister Felix Mutati’s projection which is quoted at $7.2 billion. Dr Mumba, who is now one of the prominent supporters of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, has published an article on his Facebook page backing his claim and challenging the Zambian government to be truthful. “Considering that there is much confusion among Zambians on what the correct debt position is, we did our own research and concluded that the figure of $7.2 billion Mr Mutati gave is simply not true. “Based on evidence gathered from a variety of sources, we have found that the true figure appears to be at least 4 times larger than stated. “Our preliminary figures, based on information in the public domain, show that at a minimum, the true debt position is about $30 billion!!!” he states. BELOW IS THE FULL ARTICLE BY DR MUMBA ZAMBIA’S HIDDEN DEBT CRISIS: THE REAL DEBT IS $30 BILLION! By Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba, 28th July 2017 On 21st June 2017, Finance Minister Felix Mutati gave a ministerial statement in Parliament in which he said that Zambia’s foreign debt stock stood at $17.2 billion. After much debate and discussion, he clarified later on that he had misspoken and that the correct figure was actually $7.2 billion. This figure was challenged, most notably by Mr Trevor Simumba, a Zambian financial analyst. Considering that there is much confusion among Zambians on what the correct debt position is, we did our own research and concluded that the figure of $7.2 billion Mr Mutati gave is simply not true. Based on evidence gathered from a variety of sources, we have found that the true figure appears to be at least 4 times larger than stated. Our preliminary figures, based on information in the public domain, show that at a minimum, the true debt position is about $30 billion!!! In 2011 when the Patriotic Front (PF) government took office, Zambia’s external debt stood at $3.5 billion (15% of GDP). Using the government’s own figures, it has ballooned to $7.2 billion (34% of an estimated $21 billion GDP) in 2017 and the year is not yet over. But the World Bank as of 2015 put the debt at $8.7 billion (by 2017 it is certainly around $10 billion). Using our computed figure of $33 billion, it is 157% of GDP. 40% is the government’s own acceptable threshold. The list below, which is certainly not exhaustive, does not count other loans for 2017 still in negotiations such as the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway which will cost not less than $500 million and it does not factor in local debt ($4 billion) or arrears owed to contractors ($1.7 billion). We have also not factored in an estimate of unknown loans. We estimate that the grand total of all debts is anything from $35 billion to $40 billion. To make our research more complete, we have also taken into account debt servicing. Below the list of loans is the list of debt servicing per year from 2011 to 2015 based on data from the World Bank. We have added our own estimate for debt servicing for 2016 and 2017. Also of note is the fact that the government has this year requested for an additional $8 billion from China to fund infrastructure development! This shall make the debt position far worse than anything imaginable for Zambia. What is clear from all the information available is that Zambia is sitting on a massive debt time bomb that shall explode in a very big way within the next 5 to 10 years. Based on projections of current economic growth rates, Zambia will not manage to pay off those debts in a sustainable way. A sovereign debt default and significant credit rating downgrade is a very real possibility. We do not claim perfection in our research and there is a chance that there could be gaps in our information. We therefore call upon Mr Mutati to issue another ministerial statement and shed light on this matter with the true debt position because it appears the Zambian government is being economical with the truth. Zambians need to know the real debt position so that they can anticipate what is coming ahead of us economically. The IMF is already in negotiations with the government for a $1.6 billion bailout and they also need to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in order to determine how much they can lend because they need to know our capacity to repay. LIST OF MAJOR LOANS (2011 – 2017) 1. Kenneth Kaunda International Airport: $360 million (2014) 2. Poverty reduction projects: $13.5 Billion (2012) 3. Poverty reduction programmes: $6.7 billion (2011) 4. 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower Power Plant: $1.7 billion (2015) 5. 360MW Kariba North Bank Power Plant Expansion: $430 million (2014) 6. Lusaka L400 roads: $300 million (2013) 7. Copperbelt International Airport (Ndola): $400 million (2017) 8. Lusaka de-congestion: $286 million (2017) 9. Communication towers: $280 million (2017) 10. Copperbelt C400 roads: $418 million (2015) 11. Chipata-Serenje railway line: $2.3 billion (2017) 12. Mongu-Kalabo Road: $287 million (2011) 13. 2,000 Military Houses: $157 million (2017) 14. Mansa-Luwingu road: $242 million (2012) 15. Water and sanitation programme: $135 million (2016) 16. Mbala-Nakonde Road: $180 million (2011) 17. Lusaka sanitation project: $130 million (2015) 18. Kafubu water and sanitation project: $104 million (2014) 19. National Heroes Stadium: $94 million (2011) 20. Levy Mwanawasa Hospital Expansion: $90 million (2015) 21. Kafulafuta Dam water project: $449 million (2017) 22. Housing project for security wings: $275 million (2015) 23. International Development Assistance programme: $600 million (2017) 24. Rural roads project (World Bank): $200 million (2017) 25. Environmental Remediation and Agribusiness Development: $106 million (2016) 26. Miscellaneous small loans: $300 million (estimate) 27. Debt position of previous government up to 2011: $3.5 billion TOTAL EXTERNAL DEBT: $33.5 billion ANNUAL EXTERNAL DEBT SERVICING 2011: $229.6 million 2012: $230.1 million 2013: $325.9 million 2014: $396.0 million 2015: $507.3 million 2016: $660.0 million (estimate) 2017: $800.0 million (estimate) TOTAL: $3.1 billion ESTIMATED NET EXTERNAL DEBT: $30.4 billion (2017) The post Zambia’s ‘Real’ Debt Stands At $30 Billion – Dr. Nevers Mumba appeared first on Zambia Reports.

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Inflation Drops To 6.6%

The annual inflation rate for the month of July, 2017 has decreased to 6.6 percent from 6.8 percent in June 2017. This means that on average, prices increased by 6.6 percent between July 2016 and July 2017. Central Statistical Office … Continued

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The annual inflation rate for the month of July, 2017 has decreased to 6.6 percent from 6.8 percent in June 2017. This means that on average, prices increased by 6.6 percent between July 2016 and July 2017. Central Statistical Office Director, John Kalumbi explained during the monthly bulletin presentation that the movement of consumer price indices (CPI) show a steadily increasing trend in the prices of commodities during the period of July 2016 to July 2017. Kalumbi however,says the annual inflation rates over the same period have shown a decreasing pattern from 22.2 percent in July 2016 to 6.6 percent in July 2017. He states that of the total 6.6% annual inflation rate recorded in July 2017, food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 2.9 percentage points, while non-food items accounted for a total of 3.7 percentage points. Kalumbi says Lusaka Province had the highest provincial contribution of 1.9 percentage points to the overall annual inflation rate of 6.6 percent, implying that the price movements in Lusaka province had the greatest influence on the overall annual rate of inflation. He adds that Western province had the lowest contribution of 0.2 percentage points. And Zambia recorded a trade deficit valued at K335.2 million in June 2017 from K333.8 million recorded in May 2017. This represents a 0.4 percent increase in the trade deficit. This means that the country imported more in June 2017 that it exported in nominal terms. Source: QFM The post Inflation Drops To 6.6% appeared first on Zambia Reports.

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Antonio Mwanza: Maize Floor Price Killing The Farmer

The floor price of K60 per 50kg bag of maize as announced yesterday by the Food Reserve agency is a devastating blow to farmers, and yet, another testament that PF is indeed Paya Farmer. The flow price has been reduced … Continued

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The floor price of K60 per 50kg bag of maize as announced yesterday by the Food Reserve agency is a devastating blow to farmers, and yet, another testament that PF is indeed Paya Farmer. The flow price has been reduced from K85 to K60 per 50kg bag of maize when the cost of production has actually skyrocketed beyond the reach of many farmers owing to the escalating costs of farming inputs such as fertilizer, chemicals, seed and equipment. The cost of transport, packaging, storage, loading and offloading have equally hit the roof, making it more expensive for farmers to market their produce. With the rising cost of production it is only prudent for any decent and caring Government to peg the floor price at a rate that takes into full consideration of the production and marketing fundamentals. Today, a farmer is making losses of K25 and K1000 per every 50kg bag or one tonne of maize sold, respectively. The price of maize per tonne has fallen from K3400 last year to K2400 this year despite the fact that the cost of producing this same tonne has risen to over K3200 per tonne. Equally, the flow price of Soya beans has plummeted from K5 in the last marketing season to K1.50n this season. In short, the announced flow price will worsen the poverty situation in the country which is already hovering at alarming levels of over 75% among our rural population. Agriculture being a high labour intensity venture is the only sure solution to massive job creation and poverty eradication. And any serious government would invest heavily in Agriculture to combat the current high unemployment and poverty levels through improved production and marketing. When it comes to singing, the PF Government has been so good. They have spent 5 years now singing about agriculture and diversification but they have lamentably failed to invest in the sector and implement policies that would make their song of Agriculture and diversification a reality. Moving forward we propose the following: 1. That 20% of the next 5 national budgets must be allocated to Agriculture to ensure the following: a) Mordenised methods of production to improve yields b) Supply of adequate farming inputs on time c) Value addition through agro-processing to increase forex and create jobs d) Serious investment in extenstion activities and information sharing to equip farmers with the knowledge concerning their preferred agro activities e) Increased investment in Irrigation f)Increased investment in fish and animal farming g) Increased investment in other high value cash crops. 2. Government must seriously work on reducing the cost of production by subsidising production and stabilising the general macro fundamentals to ensure low cost of goods and services. If we subsidise production, we will make it cheaper and profitable for farmers to engage in Agriculture. 3. Government must work with other stakeholders to help farmers access markets and make it cheaper and easier for them to trade. Issued by Antonio Mwanza FDD Deputy National Secretary The post Antonio Mwanza: Maize Floor Price Killing The Farmer appeared first on Zambia Reports.

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Opinion: The Impact Of A State Of Emergency On The Economy

By Blessings Kafwanka Our economy has gone through a lot of stress in the recent past. The cost of doing business has risen sharply in the last few years. This can be attributed to the removal of electricity and fuel … Continued

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By Blessings Kafwanka Our economy has gone through a lot of stress in the recent past. The cost of doing business has risen sharply in the last few years. This can be attributed to the removal of electricity and fuel subsidies. It can also be attributed to circumstances that are beyond the control of our government such as the fall in copper prices and the increase of fuel prices on the international market. This has increased the cost of production/service provision for many entrepreneurs and business houses. The Austerity measures that were put in place have also had a role to play in this. The changes in our tax regime i.e. changes in the PAYE bands, the introduction of the 15% excise duty on talk time, introduction of bands to our turnover tax system and many other changes have contributed to this problem. The cost of borrowing has also significantly increased in the last 5 years from about 16% in 2011 to the current range of about 30% to 35%. Business people factor in all of these costs into their cost of production and provision of various services. Ultimately, it’s the consumer that is adversely affected. Everybody, regardless of their political affiliation is affected. With the stress that our economy has gone through in the recent past, the possibility of a State of Emergency being declared will further compound this problem. I do not want to get in the debate of whether there’s tension in the country or not. His Excellency, President Edgar Lungu has clarified that we are not in a State of Emergency. The best legal minds have labored to explain the situation we are in. But what I’m certain about is that if a State of Emergency is eventually declared, it will certainly create a perception that our political environment is very unstable. Political instability can have a significant impact on overseas investment decisions. At a time when the country is struggling to resolve huge current account deficits we have seen over the years, we cannot afford to lose the earnings in form of corporate taxes that comes with Foreign Direct Investment. In his “State of the economy address to parliamentâ€, the finance Minister Felix Mutati disclosed that the country’s current account deficit stood at US$257m in the first quarter of 2017. On revenue collection in the first five months of 2017, Mr Mutati said revenues under-performed by 10% compared to the budget. If a State of Emergency is declared it will become practically impossible for the government to achieve their goal of increasing domestic Resource mobilization and attaining fiscal Consolidation in 2017. Foreign Direct investment (FDI) also contributes to the creation of employment. Unemployment is one of the major challenges that Zambia has been experiencing and successive governments have tried to resolve this issue. Recipients of FDI often gain employee training in the course of operating the new businesses, which contributes to human capital development in the host country. How will the State of emergency impact on government’s goal of creating 200 thousand decent jobs annually? A State of Emergency might come with restrictions on the freedom of movement after certain hours e.g from 19:00hrs to 06:00hrs. This means that traders that make the bulk of their sales after 17:00hrs will be adversely affected by this move. The traffic of customers in supermarkets, shopping malls and other trading places increases after 18:00hrs. This is also a time when Mini bus and taxi drivers compensate for the slow business during the day to make their “Cash-in†for the day. Restrictions on telecommunications companies might be imposed for security reasons. This will not only reduce the profits for the telecommunications. Communication is a very vital component of every business. Small traders that cannot afford to rent office space heavily rely on their phones to communicate and clinch business deals. Social media such as Facebook, whatsap and twitter has become a vital part of our lives not just for entertainment but for cheaper advertising, communication and marketing of products and services. Most students rely on the internet to conduct their research and collect study materials. The internet has also made it possible for people to know what is happening both locally and globally at a click of a button. Gone are the days when people would surround a radio or wait for the main news at 19:00hrs to know what is happening in the country. I believe that we all have a role to play to avoid a State of Emergency from being declared and ensure that there’s peace and stability in Zambia. Our leaders should explore peaceful avenues of resolving the current situation. Our leaders regardless of their political affiliation must realize that no Zambian deserves to suffer in any way because of their political ambitions. No Zambian should lose their life because of the political ambitions of a few individuals. Young people should refuse to be used as tools of violence. BLESSINGS KAFWANKA is a Business & Financial Analyst The post Opinion: The Impact Of A State Of Emergency On The Economy appeared first on Zambia Reports.

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Kabwe Is World’s Most Toxic City – Pollution Experts

By Damian Carrington Environment editor in Kabwe Zambia “I’d like to be a doctor,” says seven-year-old Martin, sitting quietly in his modest home in Kabwe, Zambia. But the truth is that Martin struggles with his schoolwork, and his dream seems … Continued

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By Damian Carrington Environment editor in Kabwe Zambia “I’d like to be a doctor,†says seven-year-old Martin, sitting quietly in his modest home in Kabwe, Zambia. But the truth is that Martin struggles with his schoolwork, and his dream seems unlikely to become a reality. Kabwe is the world’s most toxic town, according to pollution experts, where mass lead poisoning has almost certainly damaged the brains and other organs of generations of children – and where children continue to be poisoned every day. Almost a century of lead mining and smelting has left a truly toxic legacy in the once-thriving town of 220,000 people in central Africa’s Copperbelt [Central Province], 100km north of the capital Lusaka. But the real impact on Kabwe’s people is yet to be fully revealed and, while the first steps towards a clean-up have begun, new dangers are emerging as desperately poor people scavenge in the vast slag heap known as Black Mountain. “Having been to probably 20 toxic hotspots throughout the world, and seeing mercury, chromium and many contaminated lead sites, [I can say] the scale in Kabwe is unprecedented,†says Prof Jack Caravanos, an environmental health expert at New York University, on his fourth visit to the town. “There are thousands of people affected here, not hundreds as in other places.†The fumes from the giant state-owned smelter, which closed in 1994, has left the dusty soil in the surrounding area with extreme levels of lead. The metal, still used around the world in car batteries, is a potent neurotoxin and is particularly damaging to children. But it is youngsters who swallow the most, especially as infants when they start to play outside and frequently put their hands in their mouths. It was at that age that Martin’s mother, Annie Kabwe, first noticed her children getting stomach pains and fevers, and losing weight. “I thought it might be HIV, but the tests were negative,†she says. Then blood tests revealed very high levels of lead. “I thought they would die,†Kabwe says. After learning about the toxicity of the dust in her neighbourhood and reducing her children’s lead exposure, through frequent washing of hands and clothes, the worst has not happened. “The problem is they are not really learning well in school, so the lead is still affecting them,†she says. Caravanos says lead poisoning stays with you for the rest of your life – it can’t be reversed. Having seen the extreme lead levels measured in children in several townships, he says severe and widespread health impacts are highly likely, including brain damage, palsy and ultimately fatalities. “I am concerned kids are dying here,†he says. Barry Mulimba, who as a volunteer community facilitator has seen many affected children, says: “I feel very, very sad, especially for the children, because we consider the children our future leaders and if they do not get a good education, they will not be capable.†The slow, insidious nature of lead poisoning means careful epidemiological work is needed to distinguish its effects from other causes and reveal the true extent of the crisis. But that work has barely begun. “It is shocking to think that we are here in 2017 and that problem we have known about for decades is still here,†says Caravanos. Lead poisoning remains a highly sensitive issue in Kabwe and people from several organisations refused to speak to the Guardian, while those trying to tackle the problem complain that data gathered by officials is not made public. One local source reports that there are children with brain damage, paralysis and blindness – all classic symptoms of lead poisoning – who have not been tested for lead, and that some children with disabilities are hidden away by families fearing stigma. A second source says that the children in Chowa, the township that once housed the mines and smelter workers, are markedly different from those in less polluted townships: “I do notice a slowness in them and they take much longer to catch on to ideas.†What is clear in Kabwe is the extreme levels of contamination. A large World Bank project that ended in 2011 revealed the problem, though it achieved little in remediating the pollution. In affected townships, the lead in soils is about 10 times the US safety limit and far higher in hotspots. One such hotspot turns out to be the dusty yard of the only medical clinic in Chowa, which serves 14,000 people. Caravanos uses a handheld detector to reveal extreme lead levels in the sun-baked mud, frequently over 10,000 parts per million (ppm), far above the 400ppm limit in the US. The clinic’s head declined to be interviewed by the Guardian. The blood levels of lead in children in Kabwe are also known to be very high – a recent study revealed that every one of 246 children tested were above the safety limit of 5 micrograms per decilitre of blood. The vast majority were over 45 micrograms per decilitre, which causes brain, liver and hearing damage, and eight were over 150 micrograms per decilitre, at which point death is the likely outcome. However, in 2015, 113 years after the smelter first opened, NGOs began to clean up the first homes, funded by Germany’s Terrre des Hommes and delivered by Environment Africa and Pure Earth, using workers from the community. More than 120 homes have had the soil in their yards replaced with clean soil from elsewhere. “It is a drop in the ocean, but we are happy that we have targeted the most polluted homes first,†says Namo Chuma, Environment Africa’s director in Zambia. But Chuma believes that official recognition of the problem is at least finally starting to be seen: “The government does now acknowledge there is a problem.†Paul Mukuka, director of public health at Kabwe Municipal Council, says: “The government, like any other government, is concerned for the health of its people.†He says there is a now a fund of 16m kwacha (about $1.7m) that will be spent on cleaning up Kabwe’s toxic pollution, providing the drug therapies that have been absent so far and repairing the clogged canal that is supposed to channel away the run-off from the mine site. Wilford Chipeta, whose grandson has been poisoned, remains to be convinced: “We were promised that drugs were coming [before], but nothing came. They always talk but we get nothing.†Mukuka was confronted by the lead crisis personally when he arrived in Kabwe a year ago looking for a clean neighbourhood for his family: “I have three beautiful girls at home – where are they going to be playing?†He says the new plan also promises new livelihoods, to draw people away from scavenging among the mine’s dumps. On Black Mountain, bare-foot and ragged-clothed men dig out lead from the huge slag heap, often in long, unsupported tunnels, dug with hand tools and lit only by candles. “When you don’t make them properly, you find they just bury someone,†says Provost Musonda, a young father of three, and people have died in the scarred hellscape of Black Mountain. He earns about 80 kwacha ($8.50) a day, unless his chest pains prevent him working. “If I could get another job, I would go there. But there is no way of sustaining our lives otherwise.†Caravanos uses a portable detector to measure the lead levels on Black Mountain: they are sky high at 30,000-60,000 ppm. “Kids playing here is really unbelievable,†he says, noting the youngsters nearby. black mountain slag heap Kabwe In another part of the mine waste dump, beyond a long breeze block wall emblazoned with large signs reading “Danger keep away!â€, people sit in the dust breaking stones to sell as building materials. Advertisement At one spot, a young woman, Debola Kunda, toils away, with two of her young children lending a hand. The dust sparkles with the metallic glint of galena – pure lead sulphide – and the soil right next to her four-year-old son, Acili, measures an astronomical 37,900ppm – 100 times above the danger level. She is concerned about the health of her children, who have not been tested for blood lead. “But what can we do when there are no others at home to take care of the children? How will we eat if we stay at home?†she says. A new $65m project for Kabwe and three other copperbelt mining areas was approved by the World Bank in December but the Zambian government has yet to give the go-ahead. It could be transformative – but it has yet to happen. “A programme of more than 3,000 children and citizens of Kabwe would be subjected to constant medical surveillance and treatment programmes and anyone who showed a high blood lead level would be subjected to treatment as well,†says Sanjay Srivastava, at the World Bank, who is optimistic the crisis will be at last tackled. “The government finally recognises there is an issue and and they have to address it.†Caravanos, who is also senior science advisor to Pure Earth, says the solution to Kabwe’s toxic trouble is clear: “We have the knowledge – we just have to get the kids away from the exposure. Will Kabwe ever be a lead-free town? No, but it can be a lead safe town.†SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN UK The post Kabwe Is World’s Most Toxic City – Pollution Experts appeared first on Zambia Reports.

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NAPSA PAYS K500 Million In Benefits

THE National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) last year collected over K2.9 billion in contributions and paid out over K500 million in benefits to its members. This is in comparison to 2015 when the authority recorded a reduction of contributions of … Continued

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THE National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) last year collected over K2.9 billion in contributions and paid out over K500 million in benefits to its members. This is in comparison to 2015 when the authority recorded a reduction of contributions of over K2.5 billion and paid out benefits of over K4.3 million, which reflects a reduction. NAPSA contribution manager Arthur Msusa attributed the increase to efforts made by the authority to extend coverage of social security to all workers. Msusa said in an interview on Wednesday shortly after the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI)-NAPSA employer sensitisation workshop “Last year, we collected contributions worth K2,934,587,755.25 and paid out benefits worth K508,000,668.04 in comparison to 2015 when we collected contributions worth K2,538,654,794 and paid out benefits amounting to K435,879,916,†he said. Earlier, Mr Msusa urged employers to take advantage of the electronic-NAPSA, which was introduced in January, by registering their employees as it is a statutory obligation. He also urged employees to use e-NAPSA, which is an integrated web-based e-service portal, to check personal and beneficiary details and to keep track of their contributions. Msusa said the introduction of e-NAPSA has received overwhelming response from employers and that by the end of the quarter, over 90 percent registered to use the system. The e-NAPSA has lessened compliance burden for employers and once details are submitted online, it is guaranteed that information is safe. Msusa, however, said that the system has experienced some challenges with internet connectivity in some areas. “Although we have 26 offices countrywide, there are places like Siavonga district where we do not have offices and our members there experience connectivity challenges. “To collect contributions, NAPSA travels monthly to Siavonga to set up temporary offices with portable internet devices to also allow members have access to online services,†he said. Similarly, ZACCI board member Laurian Haangala said the countrywide eNAPSA sensitisation workshops will give an opportunity for businesses in far-flung areas to use the system. “It will also help in extending social security coverage to domestic workers by making it easy for households to register and remit statutory contributions for their domestic workers,†he said. Source: Zambia Daily Mail The post NAPSA PAYS K500 Million In Benefits appeared first on Zambia Reports.

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Cost Of Living Drops By K40 In Zambia – Catholic Agency

JESUIT Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has disclosed that the cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka has reduced by more than K40 due to a general decline in food prices. Announcing the latest JCTR “Basic Needs … Continued

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JESUIT Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has disclosed that the cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka has reduced by more than K40 due to a general decline in food prices. Announcing the latest JCTR “Basic Needs Basket†(BNB), which normally takes into account the cost of living for a family of five across 15 major urban towns in the country, the cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka was recorded as K4,973.03 in April, 2017, down from more than K5,000 in March. This is on account of reduced food and non-food prices. “The April 2017 JCTR Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for a family of five living in Lusaka stood at K4,973.03, reflecting a K44.06 decrease from the March 2017 BNB of K5,017.09. The reduction in the April BNB is attributed to reduction in the cost of some food items such as beans which reduced from K40.1 to K30 per kg,†JCTR media and information officer Tendai Posiana states in a press statement. The reduction in food items is attributed to increased food supply as the harvest season begins. However, according to the BNB, data shows an increase in the price of kapenta from K181.05 per kg in March to K208.17 per kg in April, mainly attributable to the scarcity of the commodity due to depletion of species, while demand has remained constant. And JCTR states that the BNB has ranged between K4,500 and K5,300 in the past four months, far higher than the monthly urban average income of K3,152.00, as estimated by the Central Statistical Office in the 2015 living conditions monitoring survey. The annual rate of inflation, a major macroeconomic fundamental in influencing food and non-food prices, dropped to single digits last November and was 6.7 percent as at April, 2017. The post Cost Of Living Drops By K40 In Zambia – Catholic Agency appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

Opinion: Can Mahogany Survive Zambia’s Volatile Aviation Sector?

Since 1995 when Zambia Airways ceased operations, the country has struggled to establish another national carrier, or let alone sustain private entities that have along the way emerged to cover the gap. The flagship carrier was trapped in a financial … Continued

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Since 1995 when Zambia Airways ceased operations, the country has struggled to establish another national carrier, or let alone sustain private entities that have along the way emerged to cover the gap. The flagship carrier was trapped in a financial swamp and failed to extricate itself, leading to the collapse of what was one of the country’s national pride. During the 2011 presidential campaigns, Patriotic Front founder, Michael Sata pledged to restore Zambia’s aviation dignity with a national airline. He died three years after assuming office. His promise is still not a reality, six years after the party assumed power. Successive ministers in the PF government have pronounced a cliche “a national airline is in the pipeline”, but Zambians are yet to see the return to that national prestige. Over the last 22 years, private individuals have attempted to put up some form of airline, servicing domestic, and to some extent regional routes like South Africa, Tanzania and Namibia. Roan Air was among the first carriers to attempt to fill the gap, but went under before even reaching teething level. There is no doubt Prolight Zambia has outstandingly performed well by bracing the challenging field, clocking 26 years of experience. Having launched four years before the demise of Zambia’s national carrier, Proflight stepped in for the country when the chips were down. The company has expanded its fleet to 17 aeroplanes and services a variety of domestic routes from Lusaka to Livingstone, Mfuwe, Lower Zambezi, Ndola, Solwezi and Kasama. Proflight has limited regional routes which are Lusaka to Lilongwe in Malawi and Lusaka to Durban, South Africa. The carrier operates a 50-seater Bombardier CRJ-100 jet, four 29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft; two 18-seater Jetstream 32; and two 12-seater Cessna Caravan C208 aircraft, among others. In its 26 year-existence, Proflight has outlived newcomers like Zambian Airways and Zambezi Airlines. Both carriers arrived on the scene with heavy political backing, but suffocated under the weight of operational costs. Zambian Airways owners had strong connections to the political elite of their time. Big names in lawyers Mutembo Nchito, his brother Nchima and media practitioner Fred M’membe were the brains behind the company, but it collapsed. Following Zambian Airways’ demise after it succumbed to massive debts, another airline – Zambezi – emerged. The airline was under the stewardship of the Jangulos, but its survival was equally short-lived. A change in government from MMD to the Patriotic Front mean the end of business for Zambezi Airlines, a development that stregthens the argument only politically connected airlines survive the aviation industry in Zambia. Recently, an airline going by Mahogany has emerged on the scene, although its ownership structure and political connection is yet to be established. However, Mahogany seems to be making the right noise. It is difficult to determine whether the company will survive the volatility of the aviation sector in the country. Having launched its services three years ago, servicing routes between Lusaka and Ndola, Lusaka and Chipata, Livingstone and Solwezi, Mahogany has already suffered signs of uncertainty. One is tempted to think it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an airline business to survive the Zambian market. That’s too much of a though, but anything is possible in Zambia. Zambezi, Zambian Airways and Mahogany Airlines have had the fair share of challenges. But here we are. Mahogany Air is announcing its comeback. Already, it has sent staff for further training in South Africa and other mechanisms are in place in make the airline sustainable. Will it survive? That’s a million dollar question. Reports suggest Mahogany Air injected over $23million to organise capitalisation and better aircrafts. After a two year absence, Mahogany wants to be sure, so they have gone beyond Zambia for capital. The airline could not raise funding in the Zambian markets owing to turbulent climate and high interest rates at the time, according to Chief Executive Office Dr. Jim Belemu said. According to the plan, Mahogany will capitalise an initial $3 million this year followed by an additional $10 million each for 2018 and 2019 cumulating the total to $23 million. As a result of this capitalisation, Mahogany hopes to put up strong competition against Proflight and Royal Air Charters. To the Zambian populace, the return of Mahogany is good news. Some 100 citizens will be employed and another 200 may be indirect beneficiaries from the development. Mahogany is trying to be careful and avoid their turbulent experience. Shortly after launching operations, the company suffered some set back. Two of its 30 seater Embraer aircrafts were withdrawn by South African owners in connection to non-payment of leasing fees. An attempt to immediately deal with the challenge by securing a 17 seater Beechcraft 1900D was met with its own setbacks; operations stalled after a routine check and maintenance left the company with no airline to service its routes. Clearly, the terrain in the aviation industry in Zambia is not for the faint-hearted. The high parking fees have not helped operators. Further, Zambia’s jet fuel is very high compared to others in the region and to some extent this has made it difficult for the country to run or host as many successful airlines. Whether Mahogany has the muscle to withstand the aviation terrain in Zambia, their emergence on the scene should be supported and welcomed by all well-meaning Zambians, including the government. If Zambia will not have an airline in the foreseeable future, it is the governmnet’s responsibility to promote and help sustain private entities that emerge, to fill the gap that should otherwise be theirs to cover. Deliberate policies to ease operational challenges are an important ingredient to sustaining difficult fields such as the aviation industry in Zambia. The post Opinion: Can Mahogany Survive Zambia’s Volatile Aviation Sector? appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

Defiant Opposition Leader Takes On ‘Mighty’ ZRA In Alleged Corrupt Deal Amounting to K140 Million

United Progressive Party president Saviour Chishimba says the legal suit against him by the Zambia Revenue Authority will give him an opportunity to expose the levels of corruption at the institution. ZRA has instituted legal action against Chishimba following his … Continued

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United Progressive Party president Saviour Chishimba says the legal suit against him by the Zambia Revenue Authority will give him an opportunity to expose the levels of corruption at the institution. ZRA has instituted legal action against Chishimba following his whistle blowing antics that seems to be rubbing the authorities the wrong way. The taxmen are demanding K100 billion in reputation damages from Chishimba for alleging that ZRA dubiously and by corrupt means awarded a contract for the Design, Supply, Delivery, Installation, Supervision, Configuration, Testing and Commissioning of an Invoice Management otherwise known as Electronic Fiscal Devices to a named Chinese company amounting to k140, million. The Authority on Wednesday instituted legal action in the Lusaka High Court on the matter. But the UPP leader has remained defiant saying he will spill the beans in court. BELOW IS HIS RESPONSE: UPP RESPONSE TO THE PURPORTED US$10 BILLION (K100 BILLION) HALLUCINATING LAWSUIT BY THE ZAMBIA REVENUE AUTHORITY (ZRA) The purported legal proceedings by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) against the United Progressive People (UPP), if indeed it is true, over our allegations of corruption in the award of the contract to the Chinese Righlux and Inspur by ZRA, is welcome because it accords us a rare opportunity to present before the courts of laws the overwhelming evidence in our possession. We maintain our position and do hereby vehemently submit that ZRA lacks integrity not only over the fiscalisation project in question, but also over the Zambia-Malawi K345 million maize exportation scandal, among other cases before us. We have not even covered 1% of the cases that we have. UPP seizes this occasion to ask ZRA to state its position over direct or indirect dealings with CilTax Consultants over the years. There is a heap of very serious issues that we shall present before the courts of laws to show how the nation is losing revenues because of corrupt senior officers at ZRA and the political elite who have taken taxpayers for granted for far too long. It is common knowledge that every organisation, as a legal person, is personified by the people who are leading it. Likewise, ZRA is personified by the Commissioner General, Mr. Kingsley Chanda, and other senior officers. This is the reason why all public officers are required by law to declare the direct or indirect interests that they have in entities that have questionable dealings with public bodies under which they are called to serve. UPP shall successfully and overwhelmingly prove that ZRA, in its current form, lacks the integrity that the people of Zambia expect it to uphold. Our evidence shows that ZRA was represented in the sitting of an irresponsible committee that cleared Transglobe Limited of Malawi to export 50, 000 tonnes of the 100, 000 tonnes of maize under the K345 million letter of credit which was primarily issued in favour of the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF). ZRA must explain to the people of Zambia how it was part of the maize exportation scandal without showing how taxes were going to be collected since Transglobe is not registered for tax purposes in Zambia. This is why we shall continue to demand for a tribunal to probe Hon. Dora Siliya so that she can explain how she worked with President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to facilitate corruption. ZRA too, owes Zambians an explanation. We shall not rest until the tribunal is appointed. We are thankful to God that the purported lawsuit is a golden opportunity to prosecute ZRA over its alleged role in the maizegate saga. ZRA must now prepare to face UPP in court and explain how some questionable corporate entities are used to evade the taxes by way of dubious appeals that culminate in massive reductions of taxes for a select few. ZRA must explain why it failed to perform its legal duty of care to Zambians by not undertaking due diligence before awarding the contract to Righlux and Inspur when all the details on corruption and technical bottlenecks under the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority associated with the same company are within the reach of ZRA. If ZRA had integrity, it would have been enforcing the law fairly and impartially. How many corporations owe Zambians taxes? Why did ZRA selectively pounce on the Post Newspaper with force leaving out many others that have even more tax liabilities? Integrity demands that justice be rendered to all in a manner which is above board. UPP sternly warns ZRA to concentrate on corruption-free measures that will help Zambia to generate tax revenues that will help the nation to settle the debts and advance economic development. The K100 billion being claimed is an ill conceived and misguided lawsuit. It is about the same amount of the national debt that Zambia has – it is also almost double our national budget. This money will certainly not come from the UPP. Nonetheless, UPP has initiated the #BringBackOurMoney! anti corruption crusade, which seeks to prevent corruption as well as recover all the stolen funds and we can guarantee that the public resources that have been plundered shall be paid back to Zambians. We have kept the evidence under lock and nut in a secure place that no one can enter except a few justice fighters. The army, police and prison officers, intelligence officers, civil servants and workers in the private sector are being subjected to hostile high taxes because of corruption. The PF-MMD regime has run out of ideas on how to grow the economy and create jobs for Zambians. Consequently, they have resorted to heavily taxing the citizens to sustain the costly and aimless international travels of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and his ministers. The people of Zambia are facing hardships, but the reckless and insensitive PF-MMD leaders are continuing to waste public resources on luxuries. Enough is Enough! We, in the UPP, believe in the justice and power of the Almighty God who has called us to the kingdom at a time such as this. We are fully FORTIFIED and ready to defend the truth. I and all those that the LORD God of Heaven has given me shall not die, but live to declare the works of the LORD, signs and wonders in Zambia from the Holy One of Israel! These words of prophecy shall come to pass before the eyes of this nation! God bless our nation! Saviour Chishimba UPP PRESIDENT The post Defiant Opposition Leader Takes On ‘Mighty’ ZRA In Alleged Corrupt Deal Amounting to K140 Million appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports