Dr. Musokotwane’s economic projections for 2024, the Vedanta Must Return Community Campaign Movement, led by the Chingola/Chililabombwe Consortium, has issued a statement expressing concerns about the attainability of these goals without the conclusion of the Vedanta-KCM transition process.
Chishala Mwamba, the Movement Coordinator, emphasized that the economic outlook presented by Dr. Musokotwane remains unclear and unattainable, primarily due to the non-functionality of key mining assets, specifically mentioning Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
Key among the Minister’s predictions for 2024 were a projected economic growth rate of 4.7%, improved foreign exchange performance, reduced inflation rates, and stable interest rates.
Mr. Mwamba noted that such predictions have been made before, but economic measures, including increased statutory reserve ratio rates and consistent budgetary support from the IMF and World Bank, have yet to yield positive results.
The Movement underscored the vital role of concluding the Vedanta-KCM transition promptly for the nation to have a fully functioning economy and achieve sustainable economic growth.
Mr. Mwamba appreciated the efforts made in resolving the matter but urged the hastening of the Creditor Scheme of Arrangements process to realize the desired positive economic outlooks.
Production in the mining sector has dropped to less than 800 thousand metric tonnes per annum, posing a challenge to reaching the ambitious target of 3 million metric tonnes by 2030.
With over 70% of Zambia’s foreign earnings dependent on mining activities, the Movement stressed that returning KCM to Vedanta is crucial for stabilizing the economy, arresting the Kwacha’s depreciation, and addressing high unemployment levels, particularly in Chingola and Chililabombwe.
The community campaign expressed a strong desire to see Vedanta take over KCM swiftly. They highlighted Vedanta’s commitment to invest over $1 billion, pay off suppliers $250 million, inject $20 million into CSR activities, and increase workers’ salaries as essential for the local communities, especially for young people facing unemployment since 2019 when the mine was placed under liquidation.
Mr. Mwamba concluded by stating that unless the Vedanta-KCM transition is promptly addressed, achieving the projected economic growth rate of 4.7% and other potential benefits of a thriving economy would remain elusive.
The campaign called upon the government to act swiftly in addressing their concerns and ensuring a positive economic trajectory for Zambia.