Give incentives to local firms, State urged
A local company involved in copper mining and processing has urged government to provide extra incentives in the 2012/2013 budget to companies that manufacture finished copper products to encourage value addition.
Zalco Limited managing director Hussein Safieddine said his company manufactures finished copper products like copper rods and electric cables, which are in high demand, but finds it difficult to compete with imported products due to high production costs.
Recently, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Robert Sichinga said government plans to ban the export of raw copper in order to promote value addition to the copper and create jobs in the manufacturing sector.
Last month, Vice-President Guy Scott also said it is the desire of the Patriotic Front (PF) government to promote value addition as much as possible.
Mr Safieddine said Zalco, as an indigenous company, which has invested in copper mining and processing, supports government’s position but feels the current tax levels are not encouraging value addition to copper.
“We would love to call on government to put up more incentives in form of rebates to help cushion the high production costs,” Mr Safieddine said in a statement.
Mr Safieddine said it is only through operating in a favourable environment that more jobs will be created and that the direction taken by government needs concerted efforts from everyone.
He said government has in the past, given foreign-based companies more incentives at the expense of local companies and it is for this reason that he is calling for fair treatment of companies like Zalco that is already adding value to raw materials.
He also called for mining taxes that will guarantee government revenue without stifling the mining sector.
“For the past seven years or so, Zalco Limited has embarked on improving its capacity in processing raw copper but high production costs have made it difficult for it to thrive well,” Mr Safieddine said.
Source: Daily Mail