High cement prices worry EPCCI

Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry EPCCI says the increment in prices of cement will have an impact on the overall cost of construction.

EPCCI President Thomas Mtonga further says the increment in prices of cement has come few weeks after the prices of fuel were increased.

Mr. Mtonga says the current price of cement, which is trading at 90 Kwacha for a 50 kilogramme bag, is difficult to justify.

He says that this is because the introduction of the two Kwacha exercise duty on a pocket of cement cannot push up the price by more than 20 Kwacha.

Mr. Mtonga however, says that there are a number of factors that can affect the price increment of cement.

He explains that the valuable costs of cement are energy during production and transportation.

Mr. Mtonga hopes the prices of cement can stabilize because it has a serious impact on developers.

He joined calls by some stakeholders to authorities to investigate why prices of cement have gone up in Chipata.

Mr. Mtonga noted that Zambia has two major companies producing cement, who cannot sale the product at the same price.

 

Local toursim investors told to make challenges known

President Edgar Lungu has advised local investors in the tourism industry to make their challenges known to Government in order to make the environment more friendly for local investments.

President Lungu said the growth of a sustainable tourism industry can only be achieved when there are more local investors in the sector.

He was speaking upon arrival at Mfuwe international airport enroute to Luwawata lodge where he is scheduled to meet King Mswati of Swaziland.

President Lungu also notes that there is need to improve infrastructure such as roads and hotels to encourage more tourists into the country.

He also states that there should be competitive and attractive bed paces in hotels among tourism areas in the country.

And President Lungu says he will tour the provinces to establish how prepared the country is for the farming season.

President Lungu says he will not depend on information that will be submitted by his Ministers but will get on the ground and understand the situation.

He states that he wants to see the agriculture sector grow for a sustainable economy.

Meanwhile, first lady Esther Lungu who accompanied the head of state says there is need to increase animal species to attract more tourists to the country’s national game parks.

Mrs Lungu notes that though the country is managing to attract tourists with the current numbers and animal species, there is need to do more as tourism has a potential to grow the economy.

The presidential challenger carrying President Lungu touched down at Mfuwe international airport at about 10:40 hours this morning.

Chadiza Town Council unveils a K14.9 million 2018 budget.

Chadiza Town Council has unveiled a 14.9 Million Kwacha Capital investment Plan and budget for 2018.

The budget was presented by Council Treasurer Smart Muwowo during a Stakeholders meeting on the revenue estimates and Capital investment plan.

Mr Muwowo revealed that a total of 5.1 million Kwacha of the budget will be generated through local revenue while 8.4 million Kwacha will be from national support through grants from government.

One point four million Kwacha will be financed through the Local Development Fund such as CDF, Constituency Development Fund.

He said that a total sum of 4.4 million Kwacha has been budgeted for capital investment projects such as the modern abattoir, maintenance of feeder and township roads, rehabilitation and drilling of boreholes, extension and maintenance of a Trucker’s Parking Area at Chanida border and the construction of a fire station.

He said that 10.5 million Kwacha will be used to finance other projects to be undertaken by the council next year.

CSPR welcomes suspension of gold mining licenses

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction CSPR in Eastern Province says it is happy with government’s position to suspend illegal Gold mining in Vubwi, Petauke and Nyimba.

CSPR Provincial Coordinator Maxon Nkhoma says the decision taken by government is in the best interest of the people of Eastern province and should be supported.

Mr. Nkhoma says CSPR had noted with concern that the current illegal mining of Gold is led by foreigners mostly from the neighbouring Tanzania leaving the local people as mere agents of illegal mining.

He says the suspension of licenses for Gold mining will enable the government mobilize better companies that will run the Gold mines in the best interest of the local communities while adhering to environmental laws as prescribed by ZEMA, the Zambia Environment Management Agency.

Mr. Nkhoma says this means that Government will also collect appropriate taxes and mineral royalties from Gold mining companies which can be channelled to poverty reduction programs

Mr. Nkhoma says the affected companies have been claiming to be doing exploration for a longer period than is necessary.

He has further appealed to government to reduce the period of exploration given to mining companies.

He says the current period which can go up to 11 years of exploration is unreasonable and paves way for illicit mining while avoiding to pay required mineral taxes to government.

Chipata City Council unveils K68.9 million 2018 budget

Chipata City Council has presented the 2018 budget with an estimated cost of 68.9 million Kwacha.

Council Finance Committee Chairperson Naphtali Banda says that about 51.4 million of the budget will come from local revenue, about 11 million kwacha from national grants while 5.6 million kwacha will come from local development funds.

Mr. Banda says that the local authority will spend over 20 million Kwacha on service provision in the year 2018.

He was speaking when he presented the budget estimates for the year 2018 and narrative delimitation of Chipangali and Kasenengwa boundaries for confirmation and approval in the council chamber yesterday.

Mr. Banda says the council has introduced a parking fee by-law, in an effort to increase the revenue base, where taxi drivers will start paying five kwacha per day while ordinary vehicles will be charged 2 kwacha per hour.

Mr. Banda says the council will be setting up 150 ordinary parking slots and 50 taxi slots within the central business district.

He further indicated that the total cost special committee budgeted income for 2018 has increased by 877,000 Kwacha.

And Chipata City Mayor Sinoya Mwale expressed disappointment over the low turnout of residents during the meeting.

Mr. Mwale says he will stop chairing meetings that do not have representation from members of the public.

He says it is important for people to attend council meetings, in order for them to know the developmental plans the council is doing in the city.

Government intervens in Cargill job losses

Government has assigned the provincial labour office to follow up on the issue where more than 200 workers have lost their jobs at Cargill Cotton Company in Chipata.

Provincial Minister Makebi Zulu says that government is aware that Cargill has sold the business to Parrogate.

Mr. Zulu explains that in view of the concept of freedom of contract, the workers are free to either enter into an agreement with Parrogate, on being offered or be paid what’s due to them in compliance with the applicable law.

He says that the role of government in the matter is to ensure that the workers do not suffer an injustice, in what the minister has described as unfortunate process.

Meanwhile the United Party for National Development UPND has accused government of failing to handle the issue of job losses at Cargill.

Deputy National Chairperson for Youth and Sports Development Michael Chuzu says that government is quick to address issues of job losses in the mining sector but reluctant to address losses in other sectors.

Mr. Chuzu says the provincial administration needs to actively address the matter because the number of workers involved is too high whose families will be greatly affected.

Union wants better job positions for disabled people

Zambia Union for the Disabled has called on Government to consider promoting more people with disabilities to senior government positions.

President for Zambia Union for the Disabled, Pasco Mulenga says as the union is commemorating the third anniversary for the late President Michael Chilufya Sata, they are also analyzing the changes the disabled community has faced since the late presidents’ demise.

He says there are a lot of disabled people in Zambia who have the qualifications for more senior positions, but are not being considered for these positions because of their disabilities.

Mr. Mulenga adds that the late President Sata had put deliberate policies in place that benefitted people living with disabilities.

She says that it is therefore, saddening that since President Edgar Lungu was voted into office, no policies have been put in place to help people with disabilities.

He pointed out that even the loan scheme for people with disabilities that was started by the late president has not been taken up by the current government.

Mr. Mulenga complained that it is disappointing that the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions did not negotiate for allowances for people with disabilities who are working, and have challenges in moving from their homes to work places.

Two wildlife officers freed over murder charge

The Chipata Magistrates’ Court yesterday entered a nolle prosequi in respect of two of the nine wildlife officers from Mambwe district who are charged with the murder of a suspect at Chinzombo wildlife detention cells last month.

And defence lawyer Mwangala Zaloumis from Dove Chambers Legal Practitioners has called for thorough investigation into the same matter.

This is the matter where Mataa Wamundila, Paul Zakaria Phiri, John Simon Banda, Benson Kanyembo, Kamona Sibulwa, Eunice Mbewe, Mike Mwale, Fred Kankyombo and Thomas Muyangwe are alleged to have murdered Jacob Mbewe.

When the case came up for mention, magistrate Pauline Mulenga released Kanyembo and Eunice Mbewe through a nolle prosequi.

But Ms. Zaloumis said it was unfortunate that the accused person had been in prison for a long time without being charged.

She said police should have done thorough investigations before subjecting the accused to stay in prison.

Magistrate Mulenga urged the state to expedite the investigation and address other concerns raised by the defence.

She later adjourned the matter to November 9, 2017 for another mention whilst waiting for instructions from the Director of Public Prosecution.

Mr. Mbewe’s death was received with mixed feelings by the local people in Mambwe prompting Senior Chief Nsefu to deny the wildlife authorities and law enforcement officers from burying his body in the district.

The deceased was however buried in Chipata.

A tractor assembly plant to be set up in Chipata district.

The Ministry of Defense in Partnership with the Minsk Tractor Works Company of Belarus will be setting up an assembly plant for Belarusian tractors in Chipata.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defense Steady Mwale says his ministry is trying to answer to the president’s vision of the armed force being proactive economically.

He says Eastern Province was chosen because it is a hub of agriculture activities and the assembly plant will help a lot of small scale farmers graduating from using hoes to using tractors.

Mr. Mwale says since the tractors will be assembled in the province, they will be cheaper than those that are imported from other countries.

He emphasized that project should not be politicized and is not meant for any one person, but for the development of the country as a whole.

And speaking during the same occasion, Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says Eastern deserves to be chosen for the tractor assembly plant as the province has the highest number of farmers, which will assist to grow the agriculture sector.

Mr. Kasolo further indicated that Chipata is perfectly placed and will make it easy to supply tractors within Zambia and neighbouring countries like Malawi and Mozambique.

Sable Construction Company seriously monitored

Chipata City Council says it is closely monitoring works being carried out by Sable Construction Company on Kalindawlo road.

Town Clerk Davies Musenge has told Breeze News that the local authority wants to ensure that the works are of quality standard.

Mr. Musenge says that the council has already noticed that Sable seems to have improved in the way the tarring works are being carried out.

He however, says that the council is not happy with the pace at which the works are being done.

Mr. Musenge says that the contractor needs to quicken up the pace considering that the rain season is near.

He says that he is aware that the company will be forced to suspend the works during the rainy season, which might affect the period under which the project will be undertaken.

Mr. Musenge says that it will be important for Sable Construction Company to ensure that more works are done before the rains start.

Sable Construction Company is currently working on Kalindawalo road and East Rise road but the pace at which the contractor is working has raised concern among some residents.