"Though multinational firms in the mining industry have been preaching elaborate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, some of these initiatives are cosmetic and fail to satisfy the local communities. Mining firms, by any measure, make super profits and are capable of contributing more to the national Treasury as well as to the communities in which they operate.....Zambia should craft a tax regime that will be able to capture sufficient revenue from the mining firms without stifling production and profit levels. The country’s poverty levels can go down if the tax regime was worked out to seal all loop-holes that give rise to evasion...The country is richly endowed with mineral resources and holds about six per cent of the world’s known copper reserves..... But it is sad that the majority of citizens particularly those in the countryside live in abject poverty to the extent that some families are surviving on about $1 a day..."
- Times of Zambia
It was good to pick up the seems people are finally waking up to the arguments we have advanced time and time again. CSR is a bribe that no serious patriot should ever rely on to satisfy our country. The idea of sorting out Zambia Revenue Authority is also a pipe dream because globally multinationals always avoid profit based taxes. Zambia is not unique.
Zambia has two options :
a) Increase revenue based taxes that guarantees returns (i.e. restore windfall tax, or introduce a new infrastructure tax)
b) Follow the Angolan / Botswana models - 50% share in all new mining investments and stronger requirements on Zambians being employed in those ventures.
What other options should we pursue?