Job losses at FQM a direct result of political failings

FQM, Zambia’s biggest tax payer, has announced today that it will be cutting back its workforce in their Solwezi mine by 2,500. The conditions imposed by President Lungu’s Government have made their operating conditions too challenging, and investors have said now enough is enough.

FQM are an international business with projects all around the world. If the conditions do not work for them anymore in Zambia, then they will devote their energies operations in other countries.

The impact of this action by FQM should not be underestimated. Not simply for the 2.500 jobs being lost in an area where there is no other investment, but more importantly the damage this does to our country as a viable destination for foreign investors. Without these investors, Zambia’s economy is going to go from bad to worse. And yet, a few years ago Zambia was being talked about as one of the leading destinations of business in Africa. How can things have gone so wrong in such a short space of time?

President Lungu must take the lions share of responsibility for this action, but the blame cannot lie at his feet entirely as the rot had started shortly after President Sata became ill. Since then our investment viability as a country has plummeted at the same rate our national debt has skyrocketed.

The latest budget is just the most recent example of a total failure of economic planning by our failing government to bring our country into the 21st century normalities.

Whilst the mining industry has not alway operated with the transparency that we would expect in Zambia, there is no doubt that the net benefit of FQM to our country has been enormous and in the current economic state that Zambia has driven itself into, we need every bit of help we can now get to rescue our country and keep our people in employment. The latests job cuts fall entirely at the feet of the government and unless the is a rapid change of policy the desperate reality will be more where those came from in the future.

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