Fin24

Zambian miners welcome ban reversal

2011-10-07 17:21

Lusaka -  The Zambian Chamber of Mines said on Friday it welcomed the lifting of a ban ordered this week by the government on metal exports.

Zambian President Michael Sata, who was elected to office in September, had ordered the ban to be in place until October 15, as part of efforts to fight corruption and boost tax revenue collection in Africa's largest copper producer.

However, on Thursday, just two days after the announcement, the government reversed its stance.

"We welcome the lifting of the suspension because the way it was initially, it was too long and if it was left like that, it definitely was going to hurt mining companies," Chamber of Mines general manager Frederick Bantubonse told DPA.

The government wanted the ban to give it time to put new export regulations in place, but it appeared it would take longer than a week to draw up the plans, and concern mounted that the vital mining sector would be damaged.

Mining accounts for more than three-quarters of Zambia's export earnings.

It is expected that once the new measures are in place, exports by the mining companies will have to receive certification from the central bank, in a move to boost transparency.

Zambia's new leader, nicknamed King Cobra for his often abrasive manner, has shaken things up quickly since taking office. He fired the central bank chief, replaced the anti-corruption agency top official and announced major changes within the police and parastatal companies.

Considered by some to be a populist, Sata ran on a platform of job creation and ending corruption.